Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday said a conference of non-BJP chief ministers is likely to be held in Mumbai soon to discuss the prevailing political situation in the country. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to the chief ministers of states where the BJP is not in power underlining the need to discuss the current situation in the country, he told reporters.
“NCP president Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray have discussed this and efforts are on to hold such a conference in Mumbai,” Raut said. He said various issues including unemployment, inflation, the “misuse” of Central probe agencies, attempts to create communal discord etc. will be discussed in the upcoming meeting.
Notably, leaders of 13 Opposition parties on Saturday expressed deep concern over the recent incidents of hate speech and communal violence in the country and urged people to maintain peace and harmony. In a joint statement, the leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and her Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand counterparts M K Stalin and Hemant Soren, also raised concern over how issues relating to food, dress, faith, festivals and language “are being used” by the ruling establishment to polarise society.
Raut alleged that recent attacks on processions taken out to mark Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti were “politically sponsored” to polarise voters, especially in the states where elections are due in the next few months. He reiterated his veiled “new Hindu Owaisi” barb at MNS chief Raj Thackeray who has taken an aggressive stand seeking the removal of loudspeakers atop mosques by May 3. “In Maharashtra too, a ‘Hindu Owaisi’ made all efforts to spoil the peace on Hanuman Jayanti. Concerted efforts were made to create disturbances in Maharashtra but people and the police are patient and strong,” he said.
The MNS chief on Saturday performed a ‘maha aarti’ of Lord Hanuman in Pune to mark Hanuman Jayanti. Posters were put up in Pune proclaiming Raj Thackeray as “Hindujannayak” (leader of Hindus), which has riled the ruling Shiv Sena. When asked who he was referring to as a “Hindu Owaisi”, Raut said, “It is clear from some loudspeakers who is the Hindu Owaisi. The issue of loudspeakers atop mosques could have been discussed with the government. But the intention was to create a law and order situation to fulfil BJP’s wish for imposing the President’s rule in the state”. “The BJP used (AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi) in the UP elections, and using the ‘Hindu Owaisi’ in Maharashtra,” he alleged.
Addressing a press conference earlier in the day, the MNS chief had said that he didn’t respond to “lavande” (spineless people) when asked about Raut’s “Hindu Owaisi” barb. Raut said Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti festivals are traditionally celebrated with peace and harmony. “Attacks on these processions were politically sponsored aimed at creating communal discord and polarising voters ahead of the assembly polls in few states. Some political parties are using these two deities for their selfish motives to hurt the unity of the country,” he alleged.
With inputs from News18