As India celebrates its 71st Republic Day, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray has extended his wishes to the nation. Taking to Twitter, the MNS leader said that the Republic of India should be immortal. "Let the Republic of India be Immortal," he wrote in Marathi, along with hashtag - Republic Day, Hind Swaraj, People's Republic and Happy Republic Day. He has also posted a stunning picture of Pratapgarh located in Satara district along the Western Ghats, in Maharashtra. This place is associated with the valour of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who commissioned the building of the fort.
His wishes comes hours before President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's arrival at Rajpath to hoist the tricolour, along with chief guest, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and other dignitaries. Over ten thousand security personnel have been deployed to keep vigil over the Republic Day celebrations in the national capital on Sunday, said officials.
This year's Republic day parade will witness 22 tableaux — six by central ministries and departments and 16 by states and Union Territories, out of the 56 proposals received. The states shortlisted are Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.
Meanwhile, Raj Thackeray's party on Saturday objected to the Centre bestowing the Padma Shri on singer-musician Adnan Sami, claiming he was not an "original Indian citizen". Sami was one of the 118 people whose names were announced for the Padma Shri awards, with the Ministry of Home Affairs list showing his home state like Maharashtra. Sami was granted Indian citizenship with effect from January 1, 2016 after his Pakistani passport expired on May 26, 2015 and was not renewed there.
In a tweet late Saturday evening, Amey Khopkar, president of the MNS's cinema wing, said, "Sami is not an original Indian citizen. MNS is of the view that he should not be given an award. We condemn the decision to honour him with Padma Shri and demand the decision be withdrawn."
In a mega rally on January 23, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray was seen taking a strong "Hindutva" stance, at a time when Shiv Sena in alliance with Congress and NCP ha softened their ideology. What was significant about Raj Thackeray's rally was that he began his address saying "My Hindu fellows", and also supported BJP government's citizenship amendment act. In an attack to his brother and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, he also added that MNS will form a “shadow cabinet” to keep in check the ministries functioning under the current Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra.