Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray today appealed to his party workers to not perform the announced Maha Aarti on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya on 3 May, saying he did not want to create any obstacle for Muslims during the Eid festival. The other Hindutva programme of Raj Thackeray, chanting Hanuman Chalisa in front of mosques, will be withheld during Eid too.
The MNS chief seems to have suddenly found Hindutva an ideology to cling on to after all these years of inability to make national-level news, even as observers point out that his challenge of chanting Hanuman Chalisa before mosques in protest of loudspeakers blaring azan should be seen in the light of his photo-ops with Sharad Pawar and past participation in Iftar parties.
Raj Thackeray reiterated today, nevertheless, that his Hindutva was a social issue and he would disclose his future plans through Twitter tomorrow. “To Maharashtra Sainiks (MNS workers), tomorrow it’s Eid. In yesterday’s Aurangabad rally, I have already spoken about that. Please don’t do Maha Arti on the festive occasion of Akshaya Tritiya as decided earlier. We don’t have to bring any obstacles to anyone’s festivities.
“The issue of loudspeakers is not a religious matter, but it’s a social issue. What we have to do about it will be decided in future. I will put forth my views about this through a tweet tomorrow. Only this much for now,” the MNS chief tweeted in Marathi.
In the middle of the ongoing political row over the use of loudspeakers at mosques, Raj Thackeray yesterday had warned and said if loudspeakers are not taken down then the Hanuman Chalisa would be played with double volume compared to Azaan (a call for prayer by Muslims) from 4 May.
The MNS chief termed the use of loudspeakers in mosques as “a social and not a religious issue” and exhorted that he was firm on the 3 May deadline for their removal.
Thackeray said loudspeaker was not a religious issue but a national one, warning that if Muslims did not stop, “we will take a stand too”.
“This is not a religious issue. It is a national issue but if you stop us, we will also take a stand. All the loudspeaker speaker is not under the law and it is illegal. The Supreme Court already said it was illegal, it was not a matter of Sambhajinagar (Aurangabad). When we conduct a sabha, they say it was an education zone, a temple zone, you can’t organise a sabha, but for them, there is an objection. Who gave you rights?” asked the confused Hindutva leader.