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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Cancelled Ayodhya trip as a trap was being laid for me, says MNS chief Raj Thackeray at Pune rally

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief said if he had still decided to visit Ayodhya, many would have followed him. He added that though the loudspeaker problem has ceased for now, the MNS will have to remain on alert.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: May 23, 2022 2:06:03 am
MNS Chief Raj Thackeray addressing a rally at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch in Pune on Sunday. (Express Photo/ Pavan Khengre)

Two days after he called off his proposed Ayodhya visit, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Sunday alleged that he was forced to take the decision in view of a “trap” that was being laid for him and his workers ahead of the election season in Maharashtra.

“Those who were rattled by my announcement to visit Ayodhya were planning to lay down a trap…,” the MNS chief said while addressing a morning rally at the overflowing Ganesh Kala Kridha Manch in Pune city. Elections to 14 municipal corporations, 25 zilla parishads and scores of gram panchayats are overdue in Maharashtra.

“When I tweeted that my Ayodhya visit has been put on hold for now, many did not like it, some took potshots. I allowed some people to keep talking about it for two days after which I had decided to clarify my stand to Maharashtra and the country,” he said.

Setting the record straight, Raj Thackeray said, “The day I had made the announcement regarding pulling down loudspeakers from mosques, I had also announced that I would be visiting Ayodhya. After that, a lot happened. It was said that I would not be allowed to enter Ayodhya. I was watching all this… I was getting information from Mumbai, Delhi and even from Uttar Pradesh… People were telling me what exactly is happening. Then I realised this was a trap… I should not get trapped… It all started in Maharashtra, all this had a Maharashtra connection.”

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Recalling the razing of the Babri Masjid, the MNS chief said, “After kar sevaks from across the country who went to Ayodhya were killed, I had seen the visuals of their bodies floating in Sharayu river on Doordarshan. I wanted to go to Ayodhya not only to have darshan of Ram Janmabhoomi, but I also wanted to visit the place where the kar sevaks were killed and have darshan.”

Raj said if he had decided to still visit Ayodhya, then MNS workers and many Hindus would have followed him. “If anything had happened, our boys would have retaliated. Then, they would have slapped cases on our workers and leaders who would have been put in jail. They would have been caught in legal tangles. All this would have happened right at the time of the elections in the state…All this was a trap. I didn’t want to lose my boys at the time of the election, I didn’t want to lose my strength…I was ready for the abuses, I was ready to face the criticism, that’s why I cancelled the Ayodhya visit for now,” he said.

Buttressing his claim, Raj said, “One MP (Brij Bhushan Singh) gets up and challenges the Chief Minister (of UP). Is it possible? There are many shades to this….” Singh had threatened to stop Raj Thackeray’s entry to Ayodhya if he did not apologise for the assault on north Indians in Mumbai in 2008.

The MNS leader said he was asked to apologise for what happened 14 years ago. “You are waking up now… after 14 years? You are setting a bad precedent. If I have to apologise, then who will apologise for the 2017 incident that took place in Gujarat. Thousands of north Indians from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were asked to leave Gujarat after a rape incident there. They all came to Mumbai and then went back to their homes. Who will say sorry for this,” he asked, urging the crowd to understand the politics behind all this. “Those who have been rattled by my stand on loudspeakers and Hindutva are doing all this,” he stressed.

Referring to Independent MP Navneet Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana, he said, “They decided to hold Hanuman Chalisa in front of Matoshree… Is Matoshree a mosque?… I had said Hanuman Chalisa should be recited in front of mosques where loudspeakers flout the rules.”

Raj said Shiv Sainiks and their office-bearers should try to figure out what is happening. “After holding sermons on Hindutva in Mumbai, they go to Ladakh and have food together and take pictures… All this is drama,” he said. He was referring to Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut who met the Ranas during a scheduled visit to Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. Raut and Navneet Rana were part of the Parliamentary Standing Committees sent to review the working of government departments.

Attacking Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the MNS leader said, “What kind of childish behaviour is this? My Hindutva is real and yours is fake… It is like saying, tumhari kameez hamari kameez se safed kaise… (How come your shirt is brighter than mine)? Is Hindutva a washing powder? Hindus want results, which we are giving them. We are Marathi manoos, we believe in results.”

Hitting back at the Chief Minister’s allegations that he has left all his agitations mid-way, Raj Thackeray said he had carried all his agitations to their logical conclusion. “The current loudspeaker agitation has achieved 92-94 per cent success. The agitation for demanding closure of toll nakas has seen 64-70 of them being shut down in the state. We succeeded in stopping the loot of people. After our agitation against Pakistani artistes in Bollywood, they were thrown out of the country. Even when our police personnel were thrashed by Muslims who came from outside during the Raza Academy agitation in Mumbai, it was the MNS who came to their rescue.”

He asked the Chief Minister,” Are you facing even a single case relating to an agitation?… He doesn’t want to take any stand.”

Regarding renaming Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar, Raj Thackeray said, “The Chief Minister says, the renaming has already taken place… Who are you? Are you Vallabhai Pant or Mahatma Gandhi…” He said the real issues are being side-tracked. “Places like Aurangabad and Jalna don’t get water for 10 days, but these topics are never discussed,” he pointed out.

The MNS chief urged the Prime Minister to bring in common civil code and population control law, besides renaming Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar.

Slamming NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Raj Thackeray went on to add, “Sharad Pawar probably thinks Aurangzeb was a Sufi saint; Afzal Khan came for expansion purpose… Pawar distorts history to suit his political convenience.” He said a Shiv Sena MP lost elections in 2019 to an MIM candidate. “The Sena does not even have any shame,” he said.

Without naming Aditya Thackeray, he continued, “Someone said Balasaheb would have been happy to see the Sena as part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). By doing this, the Sena is only raising a question mark on the Sena supremo’s credibility.” Aditya had made the comment on Friday.

Raj Thackeray revealed that around 28,000 notices have been sent to MNS workers for their agitation against loudspeakers. “But those who blare loudspeakers, they are being called for discussions.”

The MNS chief said though the loudspeaker problem has ceased for now, they will have to remain on alert. “The blaring of loudspeakers from mosques has come down. But we should not rest easy. We should be on guard, lest they restart the problem in a step-by-step manner,” he said.

Thackeray also revealed that he would be undergoing a surgery for his hip bone ailment on June 1. “After that, I will need some time for recovery. And then I will once again address you,” he said, before telling MNS workers that he would be giving a letter to them which should be taken to every household in the state.

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