Mumbai, Feb 5 (IANS) Supporters of former Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal on Monday knocked on the doors of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray, seeking his help for the release of their jailed leader.
A delegation of former legislators and other supporters of Bhujbal — in jail since March 2016 — called on the MNS chief contending that their leader was not being granted bail despite all efforts in the past couple of years.
They said Bhujbal was imprisoned though the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) had no proof against him and gross injustice was done to him.
In order to highlight his plight, his supporters plan to take out a massive rally of half a million activists in Mumbai coinciding with the upcoming Budget Session of the Maharashtra Legislature, they informed Thackeray.
Simultaneously, they said a ‘Bhujbal Jodo’ campaign has been launched to canvass for his release from jail on bail, along with his nephew, Sameer, who is also in jail since February 2016.
A one-time bitter critic of Bhujbal, Thackeray, however, gave them a sympathetic hearing and advised the supporters to launch a ‘Bhujbal Chhodo’ movement to secure his bail.
He also indicated that “I am aware of what is going on in the state, and how injustice is being done to the Bhujbals” and assured the MNS’ support wherever required in the matter.
All India Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad said that they will take out a massive procession to Azad Maidan during the legislature session to highlight the wrongs done to Bhujbal by denying him bail for so long.
Among the prominent leaders who called on Thackeray were former MP Devidas Pingale, MLA Jayant Jadhav, former lawmakers Narhari Zirwal, Shirish Konval, Dilip Khaire, Ambadas Khaire and office-bearers of various organisations with which the Bhujbals are associated.
Later, the supporters and group leaders said that they are calling on leaders of various like-minded political parties for their solidarity on this issue even as Bhujbal’s bail plea is likely to come up before the Bombay High Court on Wednesday.
Bhujbal, 70, a prominent OBC leader and his nephew Sameer were arrested two years ago under various charges of corruption and money-laundering amounting to crores of rupees filed by the ED and ACB besides seizing their properties in different parts of Maharashtra.