Raj Thackeray, the chief of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, set the stage for a face-off with the Maharashtra government today, reiterating his threat to play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers as his “deadline” for removal of loudspeakers from mosques came to an end.
The state government, led by his cousin Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, has made extensive preparations to maintain law and order.
Not only has the leaves of all police employees cancelled, a huge number of Home Guards have also been deployed.
The forces have been spread across all sensitive locations. Strict action will be taken against those who attempt to disturb peace, the police have said.
In a statement tweeted this evening, Raj Thackeray reiterated his plans to play Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers near mosques where loudspeakers have not been removed.
The face-off comes ahead of the civic elections in Maharashtra, in which the BJP is attempting to get the control of the Mumbai civic body Brihanmumbai Corporation, the richest in India.
The ruling Shiv Sena has accused the MNS of being the “B Team” of the BJP, attempting to cut into the Sena votes with its aggressive stance on Hindutva. Sena chief and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has already accused the BJP of doing the same.
Last week, slamming the BJP for its role in the Hanuman Chalisa controversy, he said the Sena’s “Hindutva is as strong as strong as Gadadhari Hanuman”. “We will show you what Bheema Roop and Maha Rudra is if you challenge the Shiv Sena.”
“For the last few days, they (the BJP) have been screaming that the Shiv Sena has left Hindutva. What have we left? Is Hindutva a dhoti? That we put it on and take it off? We must remember one thing. Those who are lecturing us on Hindutva must ask themselves what they have done for Hindutva,” he had said.