The drive to clear railway foot overbridges of illegal hawkers — a move initiated following the death of 23 Mumbaikars in a stampede at Elphinstone Road — continued on Saturday, even as the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and the Shiv Sena claimed credit for it.
Following MNS leader Raj Thackeray’s show of strength over the issue on October 5 — MNS had set a deadline to remove the hawkers — his cousin and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday took credit for the removal of hawkers. While the MNS claimed that it was the party’s ultimatum that led to the action, Uddhav, speaking to newspersons at the Shiv Sena Bhavan on Saturday, claimed that the action had come after the demand was raised by his party’s ministers before the CM earlier this week.
The Shiv Sena president even thanked the Devendra Fadnavis-led government, of which his party is also a constituent, for undertaking the drive. On October 5, Raj Thackeray had, at a protest rally after the stampede, sounded the ultimatum to railways, asking them to get rid of illegal hawking on Mumbai’s railway foot overbridges within a fortnight else his party would take it upon itself to carry out the task. Following the drive, MNS began posting pictures on social media of how hawkers had been removed from FOBs in Dadar, Andheri and other suburban stations, in what was perceived as a credit-seeking exercise.
On Saturday, an MNS leader said, “People know whom to give credit for getting the job done. It was after the MNS ultimatum that the FOBs were cleared.” The Shiv Sena-run Mumbai municipality intensified efforts to remove hawkers from entrance and exit points of suburban stations. Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “We are planning to increase penalties and will take strict action against gas companies that supply cylinders