Security was further beefed up outside the private residence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in Bandra after Independent MP Navneet Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana said here on Friday that they would go there on Saturday morning to recite ‘Hanuman Chalisa’.
The Ranas told mediapersons that the CM has ‘forgotten’ the teachings and ideals of his father and founder of Shiv Sena, the late Balasaheb Thackeray, and they have come to Mumbai to remind him about ‘Hindutva’.
Even as the BJP distanced itself from the Ranas’ campaign, the husband-wife duo claimed that they won their seats on the basis of their public service, without depending on anybody’s support.
Leader of Opposition (Council), Pravin Darekar, categorically said it is an initiative of the Rana couple, and the BJP has “nothing to do with it”.
The Ranas reached Mumbai from Amravati ostensibly to recite ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ outside Thackeray’s home ‘Matoshri’, and to ‘remind’ him of the ‘Hindutva’ he had allegedly abandoned by allying the Shiv Sena with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.
However, a team from the Kherwadi police station team rushed to the Ranas’ home in Khar and slapped prohibitory orders on them under CrPC Section 149.
Hundreds of Shiv Sainiks, led by senior leaders like Anil Desai, Vinayak Raut, ex-Mayor Kishori Pednekar, Yuva Sena and women’s wing members gathered outside ‘Matoshri’ to counter the Ranas’ plans.
“Let them come here and recite ‘Hanuma Chalisa’, we are ready to serve them ‘Maha Prasad’ (a beating) in Shiv Sena style,” Desai warned.
Raut warned that if the Rana couple tries to target Thackeray’s home, Shiv Sainiks will not keep quiet and “give them a befitting reply”.
In Nagpur, Sena MP and its chief spokesperson, Sanjay Raut, dismissed the Ranas as ‘Bunty and Babli’ who have reached Mumbai to perform ‘stunts’ to please their political bosses.
Pednekar said those who cannot win elections without the support of the BJP are now trying to foment trouble for the Maha Vikas Aghadi government with such ‘nautanki’ (theatrics) to divert attention from the country’s major problems like inflation, fuel price hike and unemployment.
“Their whole game-plan is to create disturbances in Maharashtra and impose President’s Rule and declare Mumbai as a Union Territory ahead of the upcoming civic elections. They have no courage to do this in BJP-ruled states,” Pednekar said.
The Ranas contended that under Thackeray’s tenure, the state is facing unprecedented problems and crises as the CM has betrayed ‘Hindutva’ principles and is not reciting ‘Hanuman Chalisa’.
Taking a cue from the planned ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ crusade outside mosques of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray, the Rana couple has also jumped into the controversy.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police beefed up security outside Thackeray’s private and official residence ‘Varsha’ and also NCP President Sharad Pawar’s Silver Oak bungalow, which was attacked by agitating state transport employees on April 8.