Police yet to give nod to MNS’ Aurangabad rally
There is no question of denying permission at all. We will hold the rally on this venue itself on May 1,” said Nandgaonkar, a close confidant of Raj Thackeray after the meeting
Mumbai While the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is determined to hold a rally at Aurangabad on May 1, the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) too is gearing up to show its strength.
Amid the objections raised by different organisations, including Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchi Bahujan Aghadi, that a rally by MNS chief Raj Thackeray in a communally sensitive city like Aurangabad may lead to communal tension, the police is yet to give permission.
In fact, the local police on Tuesday imposed prohibitory orders till May 9, banning the assembly of more than five people without permission. However, the MNS is going ahead with its plan. On Wednesday, party leaders like Bala Nandgaonkar, Nitin Sardesai and Shirish Sawant reached and met Aurangabad police commissioner Nikhil Gupta for permission.
“There is no question of denying permission at all. We will hold the rally on this venue itself on May 1,” said Nandgaonkar, a close confidant of Raj Thackeray after the meeting.
“The meeting was about how to seat the people and other logistical issues,” he added.
Nandgaonkar also said the opposition to the rally was uncalled for. “Rajsaheb is holding a rally on the occasion of Maharashtra day and some people are just making an issue of this,” he added.
When quizzed that his rally can cause communal trouble since he has adopted a hardline Hindutva stance, he said, “Rajsaheb will not just talk about loudspeakers atop mosques but also of other issues Maharashtra is facing.”
Raj will travel from Pune to Aurangabad on April 30 by road for the rally. A senior MNS leader said that Aurangabad was deliberately chosen as the venue as it is a hot bed of communal politics.
“It was here that Balasaheb (Shiv Sena founder and Raj’s mentor) gave a call for renaming Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar. Raj wants to emulate his uncle,” said the MNS leader. He said that volunteers of the various Hindutva outfits like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have individually pledged support for the rally.
“In addition, we also have the BJP’s indirect support,” said the leader who declined to come on record.
After a series of defeats in successive elections, Raj Thackeray in January 2020 shifted towards the Hindu hardline agenda, deserting his “justice for sons of the soil” programme. His current loudspeaker and Hanuman Chalisa campaign has put him in the limelight.
Political expert Surendra Jondhale said that these events point to political anarchy. “Aurangabad is a hotbed of communal politics and Raj will add fire to this by his provocative speech. There is a huge minority population in Aurangabad and the friction will only grow,” said Jondhale.
Meanwhile, there are indications from the ruling MVA that the coalition will stage a show of strength to counter the impression that the right wing politics is gaining support in the state. MVA insiders said a rally of the three parties could be held in Pune by the end of the month or little later.