Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday met Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray at the latter’s residence in Mumbai and called it ‘a family meeting.’
‘This was not a political meeting. I have got a good relationship with Raj Thackeray and his family members for 30 years. I had come to see his new house and to know his mother’s well being. It was a family visit and not political,’ Gadkari told reporters.
Thackeray had earlier asked the Maharashtra government to remove loudspeakers from mosques, a longstanding debate, with many concerned citizens in Mumbai filing PILs and the Bombay High Court passing an order for their removal.
Addressing the party workers here, Thackeray warned ‘I am not against prayers, you can pray at your home, but the government should take a decision on removing mosque loudspeakers. I am warning now… Remove loudspeakers or else will put loudspeakers in front of the mosque and play Hanuman Chalisa.’
A leader from Thackeray’s party was taken into police custody for allegedly playing ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ on loudspeakers without permission at the party office in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar on Sunday, according to an ANI report.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut later termed the comment by Raj Thackeray as ‘sponsored by BJP’.
Raut contended ‘It is clear that the (speech of) the loudspeaker blaring at the Shivaji Park yesterday was scripted and sponsored by BJP.’
Thackeray appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raid the mosques in Mumbai and said that the people living there are ‘Pakistani supporters.’
‘I appeal to PM Modi to raid the Madarasas at the Muslim shanties. Pakistani supporters are residing in these shanties. Mumbai Police knows what’s happening there…Our MLAs using them for vote-bank, such people don’t even have Aadhar Card, but the MLAs get them made,’ Mr. Thackery opined.
The MNS chief also hit out at NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and said that he and his party, the NCP, is responsible for the rise of casteism in politics.
Mr. Pawar retorted saying the MNS president never takes a consistent stand on any issue and remains in ‘hibernation’ for three to four months a year which is his ‘speciality.’
‘The NCP brings together people from all the castes. Raj Thackeray should have studied the history of NCP (before making comments),” Pawar told reporters in Kolhapur.
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