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'Raj Thackeray is facing wrath of his karma'

May 20, 2022 11:57 IST
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'BJP is cutting him down to size as he is trying to emerge a Hindutva national hero.'

IMAGE: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray addresses a rally in Aurangabad, May 1, 2022. Photograph: PTI Photo

In a sudden twist to his emergence as a 'Hindu Jan-Nayak' and his subsequent tour of Ayodhya's under construction Ram temple on June 5, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray tweeted on Friday, May 20, 2022, morning that he is temporarily suspending his tour of Lord Ram's birthplace.

In a tweet at about 10 am on Friday, the MNS chief said he will explain the reasons for suspending his Ayodhya tour on Sunday, May 22, in Pune, where he will address supporters at the Ganesh Kala Kreeda Kendra.

Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Uttar Pradesh's Kaiserganj, had challenged Raj Thackeray to either apologise to north Indians for the MNS's past attacks on north Indians in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra or cancel his visit to Ayodhya on June 5.

In response, the MNS threatened of dire consequences if anybody dared to physically challenge Thackeray during his Ayodhya tour.

Posters in Mumbai's Lalbaug area sprung up warning that 'Entire Maharashtra would rise up in anger if Raj Thackeray was challenged during his Ayodhya visit' soon after Brijbhushan Sharan Singh's challenge to stop Thackeray from entering Uttar Pradesh.

"Raj Thackeray wanted to ride on the Hindutva wave -- after trying to ride the Marathi manoos wave -- on the shoulders of the BJP all the while knowing that BJP has a policy of use and throw," says a senior Shiv Sena leader, the party whose Hindutva credentials Raj Thackeray wants to dent in Maharashtra.

"They (the BJP) are using Raj Thackeray to create communal trouble in Maharashtra, but the moment the VHP backed out of the agitation, the BJP has changed tack," the Sena leader, speaking on condition that he would not be named for his report, added.

When Brijbhushan Sharan Singh first dared Raj Thackeray to enter Ayodhya, MNS leaders had adopted a strict 'No comments' approach while speaking to the media.

Former MNS MLAs Bala Nandgaonkar and Nitin Sardesai, Raj Thackeray's two top lieutenants, had insisted that the MNS did not want to get into a row before Thackeray's June 5 visit to Ayodhya.

"We don't want to discuss this issue right now. "When we say 'no comments', it means no comments. That issue for us is not an issue as of now," both Nandgaonkar and Sardesai had then told over the phone.

Now, after the MNS chief suspended his June 5 Ayodhya tour, the MNS has adopted the same approach.

"Only Raj Thackeray saheb will explain the reason why we have suspended the June 5 Ayodhya visit at his public address in Pune on May 22," Sardesai says over the phone.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi, which was on the defensive after Raj Thackeray launched his campaign to remove loudspeakers outside mosques in the states, was elated with Brijbhushan Sharan Singh's apology demand as it exposed Raj Thackeray's anti-north Indian posturing during the MNS's political beginnings in 2006.

"After the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) backed out of the loudspeaker campaign and the BJP wary of Raj Thackeray assuming a larger-than-size-image across Maharashtra, the BJP is taking these steps to cut him down to size," says Nationalist Congress Party Chief Spokesperson Mahesh Tapase.

The NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress consitute the Maha Vikas Aghadi, which has been in power in Maharashtra since November 2019.

"Now that Raj Thackeray is isolated after the VHP backed out (of the loudspeaker campaign) and a BJP MP is demanding an apology, he is facing the wrath of his karma and so has suspended his Ayodhya visit," says Tapase.

"He beat up taxi drivers, vegetable vendors, students from UP and Bihar," adds Tapase. "The BJP is now cutting him down to size as he is trying to emerge a Hindutva national hero."

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