The announcement by Maharashtra MLA Ravi Rana and his wife, independent MP Navneet Kaur Rana, that they will chant Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s house, has given BJP IT cell’s head Amit Malviya a stick to beat the Shiv Sena with. He taunted the chief minister, telling him that the son of Balasaheb Thackeray was scared of Hanuman Chalisa.
The comment triggered a BJP-versus-Sena slugfest over Hindutva, an ideology that Uddhav Thackeray had said was not a preserve of the BJP while severing ties with the age-old ally after the last Maharashtra election due to the national party’s unacceptance of Uddhav Thackeray’s demand of making his son Aaditya the chief minister.
Incensed by the Rana family’s stratagem, Shiv Sena workers today allegedly attacked their house in Khar, Mumbai. Police said the situation was brought under control and the couple was asked not to step out of their house.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil said the couple’s plan to chant Hanuman Chalisa had more than what met the eye. “It is a part of a conspiracy to disturb the law and order situation in the state. What’s the need to chant Hanuman Chalisa outside Matoshree (the Thackeray family residence)? They can do it at their home,” said Patil.
The Hanuman Chalisa row in Maharashtra broke out after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray issued a warning that his party would play Hanuman Chalisa over loudspeakers outside the mosques if Muslims did not pull their azan-blaring loudspeakers down.
The Rana couple pooh-poohed Shiv Sena’s allegation of conspiracy behind their announced plan and said they always considered Matoshree a temple.
“I requested Uddhav Thackeray to recite Hanuman Chalisa on Hanuman Jayanti. CM doesn’t come to the Vidharbha region. He hasn’t come to Mantralaya for two years. With all these problems in Maharashtra, I asked him to recite Hanuman Chalisa. Uddhav Thackeray has forgotten Hindutva,” Ravi Rana had earlier said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress’s Bihari face Sanjay Nirupam, who was once a Shiv Sena leader, termed the Ranas’ plan as a ‘cheap publicity stunt’ and said, “Hanuman Chalisa should certainly be read. But not in front of anyone’s residence or in front of a mosque. That is wrong.”