Nashik: If Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is known outside of Mumbai or Maharashtra, then its primarily because of its campaign against north Indians. But an MNS candidate in Nashik, a top party leader, is out seeking the north Indian vote, just a year after he lead a campaign to chase them out of Nashik.
It's the sort of double speak that perhaps comes with real-politick, where a 25,000 north Indian vote bank could decide the winner.
"North Indians here tell me that because their leaders back home have done so little, they have been forced to come here. They have full faith in Raj Thackeray. Many voted for the MNS in the Lok Sabha and promise to do the same this election," said Nitin Bhosale, MNS candidate, Nashik (West).
Raj Thackeray's MNS has had a good showing in the Lok Sabha elections in Nashik, winning the second highest number of votes in the constituency. This Assembly elections, the party is contesting on nine of the 15 seats in Nashik.
Following the MNS' anti-migrant agitation, thousands fled from the region. Many like Munna Yadav have returned to an uneasy existence.
"It's peaceful now, we have no problems," said Munna.
Munna has lived in Nashik for over two decades.
As NDTV spoke to Munna, an activist, campaigning for an independent candidate, was caught saying, "Say nice things about us."
This was not a subtle message from a supporter of Nashik's former Shiv Sainik Mayor.
"We know who will help us and we will vote only for them," said Munna.
While Nashik has not seen any major law and order problem post the MNS' led violence in February 2008, the insider-outsider debate continues.
This election, with even the MNS attempting to woo them, some of the so-called outsiders now have a voice in their vote.