Amid the loudspeaker controversy, Members of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal held a meeting with the senior leaders of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in Pune. MNS leader Ajay Shinde stated that various Hindu organisations are coming up to support the agenda of MNS chief Raj Thackeray. Bajrang Dal and VHP have agreed to participate in statewide Maha Aarti on May 3, he added. This comes ahead of Raj Thackeray's highly-anticipated rally in Aurangabad that will be held on May 1, and a meeting with CM Yogi Adityanath.
In an exclusive interview with Republic Media Network, VHP's international working president Alok Kumar clarified that district-level consultations were held in Pune over the loudspeaker issue. However, VHP has not offered any organisational support to any political party.
"The reports are exaggerated, one of our district office bearers has sent a letter to them, rewarded them personally, extending their support over the issue. I have checked with my state unit and there has been no decision and nothing is mentioned in that letter to participate in the program of Shri Raj Thackeray. As a matter of policy, VHP does not participate in programmes that are organised by political parties. The letter that has been delivered to them has no authenticity from VHP and they have not offered any organisational support," said Alok Kumar.
In a big political scoop, Republic TV has learnt that MNS chief Raj Thackeray and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath are scheduled to meet on June 4th & 5th.
Raj Thackeray will arrive in Lucknow on June 4th and will have a one-on-one meeting with CM Yogi. On June 5, which also happens to be Yogi Adityanath's birthday, the two leaders will visit Ram Temple in Ayodhya. According to sources, this meeting has also fuelled speculations that the BJP-MNS alliance might be on cards as a meeting was held on April 21 in Nagpur. Earlier, the MNS chief also lauded CM Yogi's move of removing illegal loudspeakers from religious places.
Raj Thackeray had earlier put forth the demand for the removal of loudspeakers from mosques during his massive rally in Thane on April 12. Opining that the loudspeaker row is not a religious but a social issue, he said, "I want to tell the state government, we will not go back on this subject, do whatever you want to do." Defending his remarks on April 17, the MNS chief told reporters, "We don’t want riots. No one has opposed the offering of prayers. But if you (Muslims) do it on loudspeaker, then we will also use loudspeakers. Muslims should understand that religion isn't bigger than the law."
A day later, it was decided that permission for the use of loudspeakers at any religious place will be mandatory from May 3. After chairing an all-party meeting on the issue on Monday, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil revealed that the state government will hold discussions with the Centre to resolve the impasse.