‘All Shiv Sainiks are leaders of Maharashtra’

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Singer Abhijeet Sawant tells Shobhita Naithani that he joined the Shiv Sena to serve Maharashtra, but wishes to stay away from its ideology

Photo: AP

Why have you joined the Shiv Sena?
Why not the Shiv Sena? I have always made an effort to serve society, but I needed a backup. Every person born in Maharashtra is a Shiv Sainik. If a youngster is trying to do something, shouldn’t we support him?

You claim you’re not interested in politics. Why then are you part of a political party?
I want power. It’s essential to undertake responsibility. Only an MP or an MLA can get work done for his area. An ordinary person cannot.

You’ve joined the party three months before the assembly elections. Have you been told which constituency you’re likely to be fielded from?
Not as yet. Everyone was occupied with Uddhav Thackeray’s [Shiv Sena executive president] birthday celebrations so we haven’t had the time to sit and talk.

Do you think you have been roped in by the Shiv Sena to draw young Marathi voters back from Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena?
I don’t think that’s the case. I’m not in politics to find out the strategy that went behind bringing me into the Shiv Sena. My motto is to serve people.

You said the Shiv Sena offers you the right platform to do something for the youth. Can you elaborate?
A man cannot win a battle alone. He needs support. And I’m getting that kind of support from the Shiv Sena.

The party is known for its extreme-right ideology. It has openly defended the accused in the 2008 Malegaon bombings, Pragya Singh Thakur. Do you subscribe to that ideology?
I don’t want to get involved in that. I will do what I am asked to do. If I am handed over the youth department, I will focus on that. I will always support what is right.

To associate with a party also means to associate with its beliefs.
All Shiv Sainiks are leaders of Maharashtra. Our aim is to see Maharashtra progress. I espouse the ideology that Maharashtra should grow.

The party also believes that Maharashtra belongs to the Marathi community and migrants from other states should be thrown out.
I don’t agree with that. I am not a part of that thinking process. I think about everyone who is living in Mumbai. My aim is to work without discrimination.

What is Maharashtra to you – everyone, including north Indians who stay in the state or only those who are Marathis?
Everyone who stays in Maharashtra.

‘There’s no one who does not know Abhijeet Sawant. Is it not? I will make my own career graph’

Are you in politics because your acting and singing career did not take off?
Even if I were to start from scratch, I have enough time to do well. At present, I have signed contracts for three films. The problem is that we all complain about our politicians but are afraid to take responsibility. And even when one of us enters politics, people continue to complain. I have an opportunity and I will do my best. It’s only a beginning.

Will you use your party credentials to promote your professional career?
I don’t need to. There’s no one who doesn’t know Abhijeet Sawant. Is it not? I will make my own career graph.

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