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Raj Thackeray’s Ayodhya visit called off for now, MNS chief to clear the air at Pune rally on Sunday

The MNS chief’s Ayodhya visit had run into a controversy after BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh Brij Bhushan Singh had strongly opposed it, demanding an apology from Raj Thackeray for the assault on people from Uttar Pradesh and other North Indians in Mumbai in 200

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune |
Updated: May 21, 2022 10:05:29 am
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray will hold a rally at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch in Pune city on May 22. (Express File Photo)

The much-talked-about Ayodhya visit of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on June 5 has been cancelled, for now.

“For now, Ayodhya visit cancelled….Will speak about it at May 22 rally in Pune,” Raj Thackeray tweeted Friday morning.

MNS leaders said Raj Thackeray had suffered a leg injury one-and-a-half years ago and had undergone an operation for it. “During his two-day visit to Pune earlier this week, our party chief complained of severe pain and had to return to Mumbai. Now after consulting doctors, he is likely to undergo another operation,” an MNS leader said.

The MNS chief’s Ayodhya visit had run into a controversy after BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh Brij Bhushan Singh had strongly opposed it, demanding an apology from Raj Thackeray for the assault on people from Uttar Pradesh and other North Indians in Mumbai in 2008. Raj Thackeray had refused to respond to the demand.

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The Shiv Sena, on the other hand, said party leader and Maha Vikas Aghadi minister Aditya Thackeray will visit Ayodhya on June 15 and also visit ISKCON temple. “Hundreds of Shiv Sainiks will be going to Ayodhya on June 15 under the leadership of Aditya Thackeray. There is no politics behind this. This is an issue of our faith. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has also visited Ayodhya in the past and will also visit in future as well. Shiv Sena shares a special bond with Ayodhya,” said Shiv Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut.

In the same breath, Raut said, “I have learnt that some other party leaders have cancelled their visit to Ayodhya. If anyone requires any help or is facing difficulties, we would extend all help.”

Hinting at a BJP hand behind cancellation of the visit, Raut added, “BJP has been using some political leaders for their own gains. These leaders should realise their folly and not allow themselves to be used by BJP for its selfish ends.”

Meanwhile, Raj Thackeray will hold a rally at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch in Pune city at 10 am on Sunday. An earlier rally which was scheduled to be held on Saturday along the Mutha river bed in the Deccan area has been cancelled due to the possibility of rain.

“We had earlier planned to hold the public rally in the open area in the river bed. But since there is prediction of rain, we have decided to hold the rally at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch where the crowd will be protected from rain,” MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar said.

MNS Pune city chief Sainath Babar said they had never sought police permission for the Saturday rally. “Our party will address a rally at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch on Sunday and we are making preparations for it,” he said.

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