Days after the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) warned that the entire state will rise if Raj Thackeray is harmed during his visit to Ayodhya, the MNS chief has postponed his programme.
Thackeray’s proposed visit had set off massive opposition, with a BJP leader and the Shiv Sena up in arms. While BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh asked Thackeray to apologise to North Indians before coming to Ayodhya, the Sena questioned “fake” people visiting the temple town and promoted Maharashtra’s tourism and environment minister Aaditya Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya.
The JDU, too, had called him the “enemy No. 1” of North Indians, with spokesperson KC Tyagi reminding of the times when students from North India were not allowed to sit for exams in Maharashtra and were beaten up by MNS workers. Taxi and auto drivers and small traders too were targeted by the party.
However, leader of opposition in Maharashtra assembly and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had said the BJP MPs should not oppose Thackeray’s proposed visit to Ayodhya. “Anyone can visit Lord Ram and seek his blessings,” he had said in what was seen as an endorsement by the BJP.
Thackeray’s proposed visit was also not well received by religious leaders in the temple town, some of whom have said he must apologise to north Indians for past comments. Mahant Kamal Nayan Das, a top saint in Ayodhya, said, “Raj Thackeray must apologise to the north Indians before coming to Ayodhya”, and added no one had the right to hurt others’ sentiments.
The MNS chief — once considered the heir apparent of his uncle Bal Thackeray — is looking to cash in on the Hindutva factor after his ‘Marathu Manoos’ card failed to reap political dividend.
Before the Ayodhya visit row, Thackeray had launched an offensive against loudspeakers outside mosques in the state and given an ultimatum to the MVA government to remove them by May 4 or his party would blare the Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques as a response.
With inputs from News18