Raj Thackeray puts Ayodhya visit on hold
Raj Thackeray’s announcement comes amid strong opposition from Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Uttar Pradesh, who had warned that Thackeray would not be allowed to enter Ayodhya till he tenders an apology for “humiliating” north Indians in the past.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Friday announced that his visit to Ayodhya scheduled on June 5 has been postponed and would share the details about it during his upcoming rally in Pune.
The announcement comes amid strong opposition from Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Uttar Pradesh, who had warned that Thackeray would not be allowed to enter Ayodhya till he tenders an apology for “humiliating” north Indians in the past. Thackeray made several distasteful remarks against the migrants from the north Indian states in the past.
On Friday, Thackeray tweeted that the visit was postponed and he would explain the same in his rally at Pune on Sunday. “Ayodhya tour postponed for now... Details about it will be given at the rally in Pune on May 22,” Thackeray said.
However, a senior MNS leader said the decision to postpone the visit comes amid fear of a clash between the two parties.
“The local police have told our leaders that it will be difficult to provide security to the MNS workers. The MNS has booked Akharas to house their workers, and even one stray incident of bashing will trigger overall reaction against North Indians in Maharashtra,” said the leader, who didn’t wish to be named.
“We were curtly told that BJP MP Brij Bhushan has heated the environment, and there are intelligence inputs that there could be friction between the MNS workers and Singh’s supporters,” he added.
MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar said the entire issue will be explained by Thackeray on Sunday. “Rajsaheb has already announced that he will explain his postponement on Sunday, and we are all eager to hear him out,” said Nandgaonkar.
Meanwhile, the BJP in Maharashtra has distanced itself from Brij Bhushan’s campaign, saying that it is not the party’s stance on the issue.
“Raj Thackeray has only postponed his visit and not cancelled it. I don’t think that it is because of Brij Bhushan Singh only. Brij Bhushan Singh was carrying out this campaign in his capacity and not of the BJP. Our stance is any Indian citizen can visit, and place of worship, and Raj Thackeray will visit Ayodhya in near future,” said BJP leader and leader of opposition in Maharashtra assembly Pravin Darekar.