Four-time legislator and one among the important men in Shiv Sena, Gajanan Kirtikar heads the Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samithi (SLS). The SLS has a strong influence among employees of government and semi-government sectors and works to protect the employment interests of Maharashtrians.
Kirtikar, who has been nominated to fight the Lok Sabha election from Mumbai North-West constituency, dismisses his opponent Gurudas Kamat as 'Delhi ka neta' and believes that the MNS candidate will not make an impact.
There is an allegation that you were terribly disappointed with MNS's entry in the fray and that you had lost hope about campaigning.
This is completely baseless and a rumour. The MNS candidate, actor Mahesh Manjrekar, is no competition for me and he isn't even active in politics. He has only played the role of Shivaji Maharaj in a film. But I have followed the directions of Shivaji Maharaj all my life.
How will you beat the MNS threat?
The last time, I lost elections due to MNS. The party is contesting only in constituencies where Shiv Sena is contesting, but Marathi voters have realised that voting for MNS is like voting for Congress. So I do not see any threat from MNS this election.
How sure are you about a win as you had lost in similar circumstances last time?
I'm determined to defeat Gurudas Kamat this time. I have been working in this constituency right from 2009. I am in touch with the people and engaged in all social activities in my constituency. As many as 36 corporators elected from this constituency are from Sena.
Last elections, the Samajwadi Party candidate took as much as 83,000 votes, yet the Congress candidate won. Will it be any different this time?
The SP candidate may not take away so many votes this time. Besides, the number of those voting for MNS will be reduced to a mere 50,000. People have understood that (if they vote for MNS) they will be contributing to a Congress victory.
What do you promise your constituents?
The primary role of an MP is to resolve issues of the people concerned with the Centre — be it regarding CRZ regulations, postal department or railways, among others. For those in the city, commuting and facilities at railway stations are major issues. Besides, to make commuting easier, an additional line from Bandra to Borivli is required. There are restrictions for redevelopment in Versova Koli areas. Relaxation can be sought for these areas, like they have done in Chennai. Similarly, there is need for rehabilitation of slum dwellers near caves and improved financial norms for the postal department for leasing premises.
These are some of the issues I will pursue once elected. As far as railway commuting is concerned, all six MPs from the city have to strive to improve it.
How do you view the entry of actress Rakhi Sawant in the fray?
Elections have become fun for some. There are several candidates who are in it just for the publicity. They are non-serious candidates.
Why should people vote for you?
I am an experienced politician and have served in several positions. More importantly, I am always in the midst of people and I actively work for the party.
How do you view your opponent, Gurudas Kamat, who is a senior Congressmen and former Union minister of state?
Kamat has not been in touch with the people and has not been accessible to them. He is a Delhi ka neta and I am galli ka neta; he is interested only in foreign tours. People call him 'boss', but they call me 'bhau'. This just shows the difference between us.