Maharashtra’s high drama reached Delhi on Monday as a BJP team met union minister Nityanand Rai after party leader Kirit Somaiya on Saturday alleged an attack by over “100 Shiv Sena goons”, claiming that they wanted to kill him. The 68-year-old leader said that the minister of state for home affairs gave the BJP team an assurance. “Nityanand Rai assured us that he’ll talk to home secretary Ajay Bhalla in detail, and take a report on whatever is going on in Maharashtra. He also assured us that a special team of CISF or, if necessary, an officer from the union home ministry will be sent to Maharashtra.”
Somaiya on Saturday had gone to a Mumbai police station to show support to the MP-MLA couple – Navneet Kaur and Ravi Rana – who were arrested after their warning to chant Hindu hymn ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ outside chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s home. They were arrested for allegedly inciting the public.
On Monday, former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also continued his tirade against the BJP after he sought an action over an attack on his colleague.
He also linked the Hanuman Chalisa controversy to that brewing over the use of loudspeakers, which was sparked with a Raj Thackeray comment as an all-party meeting was called on Monday by the state government to find resolution. But the BJP skipped it.
“We received an invitation from Maharashtra home minister Dilip Walse Patil for an all-party meeting today, but we didn’t go in view of what has happened in the last few days. If someone has taken the role of Hitler, we felt it’s better to fight instead of communicate,” Fadnavis was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. “Whatever is happening in Mumbai is happening at the behest of the CM. In such a situation, if the CM himself is not present in today’s meeting, then what is the use of it?”
He further responded to the ruling Shiv Sena’s claims that Somaiya was targeted over an INS Virat case. “If they feel that by doing such attacks they will stop our fight against corruption, then it is their mistake. BJP leaders are being implicated in fake cases. If the High Court is calling those cases bogus, then they are questioning the High Court itself.”
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has said that it would discuss the loudspeaker issue with the centre. “It was decided in the meeting that a delegation will meet the central government and hold discussions over a solution to this issue (loudspeaker row in the state),” state minister Aaditya Thackeray told reporters.
Raj Thackeray had earlier objected to the use of loudspeakers in mosques for azaan (Muslim prayers). His comments had triggered a massive controversy as the rival BJP too questioned the state government over the matter.
(With inputs from ANI)