Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Tuesday warned hawkers against holding a protest rally against assistant commissioner of police Vasant Dhoble on January 24.
Thackeray, who is the second politician to come out in support of the officer after deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, said that Dhoble was transferred to please ‘outsider’ hawkers.
“If the hawkers hold a morcha to display their strength, even the MNS will show its power on Mumbai’s footpaths,” said Thackeray.
Dhoble was transferred to the Mumbai police control room after a hawker, Madan Jaiswal, died during an eviction drive supervised by him on Friday.
Although the MNS chief demanded the removal of unauthorised hawkers, he went on the say that local hawkers had the right to conduct their business on footpaths.
“They [local hawkers] have the right to earn their livelihood in this state,” he said.
However, hawkers said that they would continue with their protest plan. “It is our fundamental right to protest and we will go ahead with it irrespective of who is opposing it,” said Dayashankar Singh, president, Azad Hawkers Union.
Thackeray also accused the state government of demoralising the police force. “Why will a police or civic official will take action against unauthorised hawkers if they are punished for it,” he said.
Further, Thackeray described Dhoble’s transfer as a conspiracy by the Congress to increase its vote bank. “This is an attempt to get the support of these outsiders to win elections,” he added.
However, ruling party politicians such as Priya Dutt and Kripashankar Singh continued to blame Dhoble, maintaining that the decision to transfer him was correct.