Is the Marathi vs Gujarati narrative relevant to the bullet train project?

Interesting piece by Abhiram Ghadyalpatil in Mint:

In opposing the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, Maharashtra’s nativist parties Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have sought to play on the age-old Mumbai-Gujarat fault line. But does the fault line still exist? And does the issue of Marathi identity have the political resonance it did more than five decades back?

One of Shiv Sena’s emotional rallying points since its founding in 1966 has been the invocation of the Marathi identity for political mobilization. Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray’s father Keshav Thackeray, popularly known as Prabodhankar Thackeray, was a leader of the movement to claim Mumbai (then Bombay) as the capital of Maharashtra in the late 50s after a violent agitation in which 105 people died. The Sena and its offshoot MNS have politically kept alive the memory of these “martyrs”. The rival Thackeray cousins—Uddhav and Raj— have been questioning the bullet train project ever since it was announced in February 2016 by then railway minister Suresh Prabhu. After the 29 September stampede at Elphinstone station which killed 23 commuters, they have sharpened their attack and linked it to the Marathi vs Gujarati narrative. An important fact both seem to be exploiting is that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is controlled by two Gujaratis—Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

More details in the piece with some experts saying fault-line may not be as big but still matters and others diasgreeing with the idea.

India’s political economy remains ever interesting. How these deep historic cleavages are used by politicians as in instrument for political gains…

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