Elphinstone Road stampede: MNS urges Mumbaiites on social media to join Oct 5 protest march
Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena releases messages, videos in build-up to agitationmumbai Updated: Oct 03, 2017 14:15 IST
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which has been silent and inconspicuous for a while and is struggling to stay relevant after its humiliating defeat in the polls, is doing its utmost to capitalise on Mumbaikars’ anger and frustration regarding the state of the city’s rail network, following the Elphinstone Road station stampede.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray has already announced that he will go on a one-km-long march on Thursday, from Metro cinema to Churchgate station, to protest and highlight the problems that Mumbai’s train commuters face, and invited citizens to join the march.
As a build-up to the agitation, Thackeray has been active on social media, releasing a series of messages and videos, which show passengers struggling to board trains, the lack of proper amenities and the problem created by hawkers around railway stations, and Thackeray taunting the government for failing in its duty. The social media campaign also questions the plan to introduce bullet trains when the existing rail network is in shambles, a concern that has been voiced by many people especially after the stampede. First fix the existing network, stop commuting like insects and demand your rights, the MNS demands in its campaign posters.
The stampede, which occurred on the narrow foot-over bridge at Elphinstone Road station during the morning peak hours on September 29, claimed 23 lives, and has created a huge wave of resentment against railway and state officials for neglecting the upkeep of rail infrastructure.
Thackeray encourages citizens to take to the streets to express their anger. “I want the people of Mumbai and Thane to come in large numbers. Till you come out on the streets, nothing will happen,” he said.
According to the MNS chief, his 2012 morcha from Girgaum Chowpatty to Azad Maidan in protest of the poor handling of the CST riots, was a big success. “After my morcha last time, Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik was removed,” he said.
Thackeray has demanded solutions from railway officials to the various issues the city’s train commuters struggle with. “We will give them a time limit, and if they don’t act, we will act,” he promised.
The MNS has been struggling to stay relevant for the past three years after its sweeping defeat in the polls. It is now hoping to ride to prominence and gain public attention and commendation by taking up the battle for Mumbai’s train commuters.