Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray stoked another controversy, as he celebrated his 48th birthday by cutting a cake with All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi’s (AIMIM ) face on it.
Thackeray has criticised Owaisi and his brother Akbaruddin on several occasions in the past. When the cake was brought to him, he pierced the knife into it, attracting applause.
Both the brothers from Hyderabad have made impressive inroads in Maharashtra politics. They won two seats in the 2014 assembly elections, compared to one by the MNS.
The AIMIM refused to comment on it. “We do not wish to comment on such frivolous issues,” said AIMIM legislator Waris Pathan.
Aney, who turned 66, was presented the cake by his lawyer friends in the Nagpur high court. Various regions such as Vidarbha and Marathwada were shown in different colours. Aney cut it into two, separating the part depicting Vidarbha from the cake. Thackeray had criticised the move.
Meanwhile, thousands of MNS workers gathered outside Thackeray’s house at Dadar. Many got saplings, as Thackeray has been advocating that instead of spending on bouquets, people should spend on planting saplings in their locality.
Mangesh Vaigankar, 38, who comes to greet Thackeray on his birthday every year, was one of them.
Wajid Khan, a nail artist, presented a portrait of nails to Thackeray. Many ambulances, too, were inaugurated on the occasion.
Ashok Matekar, who heads the Chandivli unit of MNS, said the party is unruffled even after four former legislators quit the party to join the BJP. “There were nobody when they joined the party. Thackeray saheb made them who they are. In the coming elections, we will come with a new batch of leaders and ensure they emerge victorious in the 2017 BMC elections,” said Matekar, who got a 28kg cake for Thackeray.
As Raj celebrates his 48 birthday, he is worried about the coming 2017 civic elections in Mumbai, Thane and Nashik scheduled in the next eight months.