Thackeray uncle-nephew duo plans Ayodhya pilgrimage

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The Tourism Minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, Aditya Thackeray of the Shiv Sena, and his uncle and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief, Raj Thackeray, plan to visit Ayodhya and pray at the upcoming Ram temple there over the next few weeks.

While the dates and details of Aditya’s trip shall be finalised by the weekend, Raj plans to visit Ayodhya on June 5 along with over 10,000 MNS activists in a dozen special trains being booked to transport them from different parts of Maharashtra.

Sena MP and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that his party is very familiar with Ayodhya since long and doesn’t need to make too many preparations, and the party’s Nashik unit will make the necessary arrangements.

He said 30 years ago, many Shiv Sainiks had sacrificed their lives for Lord Ram, in a reference to the razing of the disputed Ayodhya structure in December 1992, and the party’s Hindutva is not taken on ‘rent’.

Earlier, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had celebrated his 100 days in power by praying at the site of the Ram temple in Ayodhya in April 2020, and previously in November 2018 to remind the BJP of its commitment to build a grand temple there.

Currently, the MNS is staking a claim to the Hindutva agenda with a shrill campaign against loudspeakers on mosques and to yank them off by May 3.

The Uttar Pradesh government has indicated that Raj Thackeray shall be accorded special security during his trip to Ayodhya with plans to address a public rally there.

Meanwhile, Raut accused the BJP of creating an atmosphere to spark riots in Mumbai and Delhi where the civic elections are due soon, and termed it as “unfortunate”.

The MNS has raised cudgels against mosque loudspeakers which some BJP activists are supporting, though Union minister and the President of its ally at the Centre, the Republican Party of India (A), Ramdas Athawale, has distanced himself from the issue.

Communal clashes erupted in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri and in Maharashtra’s Amravati district over the past weekend, though the situation is under control now.

Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil has warned that any person or party indulging in fomenting communal troubles in Maharashtra shall be dealt with very seriously with the state police closely monitoring the developments.

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