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Jaya takes on Raj; MNS, SP activists clash in Mumbai
February 03, 2008 20:49 IST
Jaya Bachchan on Sunday took on Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray as his supporters and Samajwadi Party workers clashed in the backdrop of his controversial utterances against actor Amitabh Bachchan [Images] and against north Indians.
Railway minister Lalu Yadav also faced demonstrations by MNS, whose 25 activists showed black flags against the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief after he strongly objected to Bal Thackeray's estranged nephew making light of the Chhath festival observed by Biharis. "He (Raj) is a child in politics," Yadav said later.
Dadar in central Mumbai was tense in the afternoon when MNS and Samajwadi Party supporters activists indulged in stone-pelting outside the venue of a rally organised by the United National Progressive Alliance, which was to be addressed by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. Five cars were damaged during the clashes.
After Raj Thackeray's verbal attack on Amitabh, the actor's wife and Samajwadi MP Jaya Bachchan said they were willing to start a school in the metropolis, provided the MNS leader donated them the land. Raj Thackeray had said that Big B [Images] was more inclined towards his home state Uttar Pradesh than Maharashtra, where he attained stardom.
"I heard that Raj Thackeray owns huge properties in Maharashtra, in Mumbai - Kohinoor Mills. If he is willing to donate land, we can start a school in the name of Aishwarya here," she said.
Taking a dig at Raj Thackeray, whose party has been targeting migrants from north India living in Mumbai, Jaya said she 'does not know who Raj Thackeray was'.
"Bal Thackeray (Shiv Sena chief) is like a father to me and Uddhav (Sena executive president) is his son. I don't know any other Thackeray," the actress-politician remarked.
The Bachchans recently inaugurated a girls' school in the name of their daughter-in-law and actress Aishwarya Rai [Images] Bachchan at Barabanki in UP.
In Delhi, the Shiv Sena demanded the immediate arrest of Raj Thackeray, saying his remarks on Chhat Puja have 'hurt the religious sentiments' of the people of Bihar.
Shiv Sena activists also staged a demonstration in Delhi to protest Raj Thackeray's remarks.
The clash between SP and MNS activists in Mumbai took place before the start of the rally at Shivaji Park, where top leaders of UNPA were due to speak.
Some members of the clashing groups were detained and security at the venue in central Mumbai stepped up, police said. The activists of both the groups gathered outside the Plaza Cinema in Dadar and later resorted to stone pelting.
The clash started after MNS workers allegedly attacked a bus carrying SP workers near Kherwadi in suburban Bandra. The police used batons to bring the situation under control and also detained seven MNS workers. After the clashes, MNS spokesperson Shishir Shinde said, "We were provoked to act the way we have".
"When a rally is being organised, the party needs to make sure there are no obstructions for the traffic and pedestrians," he said.
"When in Maharashtra, they must act like Maharashtrians. They (referring to SP) must adopt our way like saying Mumbai and not Bambai," added Shinde.
Lalu Yadav faced the demonstration outside Dombivili railway station after which the activists were lathicharged by the police. He had strongly objected to Raj Thackeray's opposition to the observance of Chhat Puja and celebration of Uttar Bhartiya Diwas in Maharashtra.