Raj Thackeray takes u-turn on Maha Aarti to avoid causing ‘hindrance’ on Eid
The decision holds significance as Thackeray had previously urged everyone to celebrate Akshay Tritiya with full vigour and perform Aartis.
Mumbai: In a surprising move, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray took a u-turn on his earlier announcement of holding ‘Maha Aartis’ on the occasion of Akshay Tritiya on Tuesday. Raj even appealed to his followers to drop the event and not resort to any activity that may cause a hindrance in the celebration of the Eid festival.
Posting a statement on Twitter, Thackeray said, “Eid is being celebrated tomorrow. The Muslim community should celebrate their festivities without any hindrances. I have already mentioned in my Sambhajinagar (Aurangabad) rally. I appeal to my Maharashtra Sainiks not to perform ‘Maha Aartis’ on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya which will also be celebrated tomorrow. We do not intend to cause any hindrances or obstacles to any religion during their festivities.”
The decision holds significance as Thackeray had previously urged everyone to celebrate Akshay Tritiya with full vigour and perform Aartis. He contended that all Hindu festivals were to be celebrated with gusto.
In fact, his son Amit Thackeray was slated to perform Maha Aarti at Prabhadevi temple and MNS had vastly publicised the event.
This backtrack has surprised many in the political circles. According to MNS insiders, some Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders intervened and convinced Raj to back off during the Muslim festivities on Tuesday. There was no confirmation from the NCP on the same.
Raj recently adopted a hardline Hindutva stance and remained defiant on the May 3 deadline he had set for the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to remove loudspeakers from mosques. He threatened that his followers will chant Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers outside mosques if they are not removed.
State Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil held a high-level meeting with top police officials and issued a stern warning to maintain law and order across the state. Walse-Patil taunted Thackeray saying his only intention was to create division between Hindus and Muslims.
After a series of defeats in successive elections, Raj Thackeray in January 2020 reinvented his party by shifting towards Hindutva. He unveiled a new saffron flag with a rajmudra (seal) of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, with the party’s name below it. Raj has now dumped his anti-North Indian stance and is focussing on Hindutva to get closer to the BJP ahead of the civic polls scheduled across Maharashtra.