Addressing a massive rally in Pune on Sunday, MNS chief Raj Thackeray explained that he cancelled his Ayodhya visit realising that it was a "trap" set by his opponents. While indicating that his hip replacement surgery scheduled on June 1 played a role in delaying his visit to the birthplace of Lord Ram, Thackeray stressed that he wanted to prevent MNS workers from being arrested in Uttar Pradesh before the civic body polls in Maharashtra. He also raised suspicion about the timing of BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh openly declaring that he won't allow him to enter Ayodhya unless he apologises to North Indians.
Raj Thackeray said, "I wanted to visit the Ram Janmabhoomi and the place where karsevaks were killed. Some people don't understand emotions in politics. If I decided to go there, thousands of MNS workers and Hindus from Maharashtra would have followed me there. If something would have happened, you would have retaliated, cases would have been filed against you and you would have been thrown into jail."
Two days ago, I tweeted about postponing my Ayodhya visit. I intentionally gave the statement to allow everyone to give their reactions. Those who were against my Ayodhya visit were trying to trap me, but I decided not to fall into this controversy: MNS Chief Raj Thackeray pic.twitter.com/fA29Z2CtK0— ANI (@ANI) May 22, 2022
In a veiled attack on BJP, he questioned why no apology was sought from Congress-turned-BJP leader Alpesh Thakore over the exodus of migrant labourers from Gujarat a few years ago. On this occasion, he also tore into Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray over his May 14 speech at BKC in Mumbai wherein he chided BJP over 'fake Hindutva'. Questioning him for talking about Hindutva in such a manner, he asked, "Are you selling washing powder"? In an intriguing move, Raj Thackeray also took on Independent MP Navneet Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana for their endeavour to recite Hanuman Chalisa.
Dubbing both Shiv Sena and the Rana couple as 'frauds', the MNS supremo opined, "I said that play Hanuman Chalisa in front of mosques if the Azaan is played loudly. It was played in many places. The Rana couple said that we will recite Hanuman Chalisa. Is the Matoshreee bungalow a mosque? Then, the saga unfolded. They were arrested. Then they came together. Then, they were released. Shiv Sena said all kinds of things about them. They said all kinds of things about Shiv Sena. After seeing all this, that couple and Sanjay Raut were seen eating together in Ladakh."
Defending his stance over the migrants from Uttar Pradesh, he added, "Show me one agitation which I left halfway. 66-70 toll nakas were closed due to the MNS agitation. Do other parties have no responsibility pertaining to the other toll nakas? The Pakistani artists were thrown out of the country. Where were these people ranting about Hindutva back then?"
During his address, Raj Thackeray also alleged that Shiv Sena was responsible for the rise of AIMIM in Aurangabad. Criticising Uddhav Thackeray for not consenting to the formal renaming of Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar, he lamented that the MVA government did not take any action even after AIMIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi visited Mughal emperor Aurangzeb's tomb in Aurangabad recently. Thus, he urged PM Modi to change the name of Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar apart from bringing a Uniform Civil Code and law on population control at the earliest.
The MNS chief noted, "For the division of Hindu-Muslim votes, AIMIM was made stronger. AIMIM should keep on speaking against Hindus in Sambhajinagar so that they can continue to earn their living. They didn't realise that we are nurturing a monster. Gradually, AIMIM got its own MP there because of their politics. The descendants of Nizam started moving around Maharashtra".
Hitting out at the NCP president, he quipped, "If Sharad Pawar feels that Aurangzeb is a Sufi saint what can I say? Apparently, Afzal Khan didn't come to kill Shivaji Maharaj, he had only come to expand his kingdom. Then did Shivaji Maharaj come in between? Why are you changing history for your convenience"?
Escalating his attack on the Uddhav Thackeray-led party, he added, "Yesterday, some Shiv Sena leader said that Balasaheb would have been happy if he would have seen the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. Pawar Saheb said that we would fight in the morning and eat together in the evening. You are diminishing the credibility of Balasaheb Thackeray. Shiv Sena does not even have the brains to know who it is staying with. People will feel they had a fake war of words. But they are so engrossed in power that they are not bothered about this."
In his May 1 rally, Raj Thackeray had triggered a row by giving an ultimatum to the MVA government to remove loudspeakers from mosques by May 4, failing which, he warned that Hanuman Chalisa will be played at double volume in front of such places of worship. Subsequently, the police swung into action and detained over 250 MNS workers across the state who tried to play Hanuman Chalisa. However, he remained undeterred by the action taken against his party workers and affirmed that the agitation will continue until illegal loudspeakers are removed from places of worship, especially mosques.
Advising the Maharashtra CM to not test the patience of his party in a letter addressed to him on May 10, the MNS chief observed, "My party workers were detained even before starting the agitation. 28 thousand MNS workers were served notices from the police while thousands were jailed. They did all this since they want loudspeakers to be used. These loudspeakers cause noise pollution". In his Pune rally, Thackeray stressed that the loudspeaker agitation will continue and revealed that he will release a letter in the next 2-4 days regarding this which should be circulated to every household in Maharashtra.