MNS intensifies stir against toll collection
Even as chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has warned the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) against continuing with its anti-toll tax drive, the party has intensified its agitation. Naresh Kamath reports.mumbai Updated: Jul 30, 2012 01:41 IST
Even as chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has warned the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) against continuing with its anti-toll tax drive, the party has intensified its agitation.
The MNS has begun to paste stickers on the private vehicles of its cadres and sympathisers, claiming they are not going to pay the toll tax. In addition, it has also organised morchas across the city, and put up hoardings, to whip up public opinion against the tax.
Sharif Deshmukh, who heads the MNS's Mumbadevi unit, said he had started with 5,000 stickers in the first phase. "The stickers, with our party symbol and Raj Thackeray's picture, are enough to warn the toll collectors against collecting the tax," said Deshmukh. "There has been an enthusiastic response since many of the residents are traders who ply their vehicles outside the city almost on a daily basis," he added.
The MNS transport wing, meanwhile, has written letters to all its members to desist from paying tax. Plans are also on for an agitation on a larger scale. "We have planned a 'chakka jam' agitation to bring the entire transport network to a halt. "We will paralyse the entire movement of traffic," said Hazi Arafat Shaikh, President, MNS transport wing.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray has maintained all along that toll tax is unfair and needs to be abolished. Recently, he even issued a diktat urging the citizens not to pay the tax till there is transparency in the collection process. In its defence, the state government said Thackeray was indulging in populist gimmicks.
It also expressed willingness to trash out the issue with him. However, Thackeray cancelled a meeting scheduled with Chavan last week where this issue was to be discussed.