Thousands of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena workers gathered to participate in ‘mahamorcha’ at Azad Maidan in Mumbai, demanding the ouster of illegal Bangladeshi and Pakistani immigrants.
The Raj Thackeray-led party has organised the march demanding eviction of illegal (Muslim) immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh staying in India.
A large number of police personnel were deployed along the route of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s morcha on Sunday in Mumbai.
Thousands of MNS activists participated in the ‘Mahamorcha’, which began 12 noon from Hindu Gymkhana along Marine Drive to the Azad Maidan in south Mumbai.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray visited the Siddhi Vinayak temple wearing a saffron badge on his sleeve before the march.
In wake of the MNS march, all Shiv Sena leaders will be meeting at the party office in south Mumbai’s Sahyadri.
However, Shiv Sena MLA Dilip Lande said that the meeting has been called to discuss development of Maharashtra and the development of farmers.
‘MNS morcha doesn’t matter. We are here to do work for the development of Maharashtra,’ Lande said
‘Shiv Sena has always focused on Hindutva issues and will always go ahead with Hindutva ideology,’ he added.
Another Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Shirsa also maintained that the meeting is on developmental issues and not for MNS’s march.
‘Let them take out morcha, let them do their work. We are doing our work,’ he said.
Some roads remained closed for vehicular movement while traffic on other roads was diverted on Sunday in view of the march, a traffic official said.
He also said that police personnel in civvies will mingle with the crowd to keep an eye on anti-social elements.
‘Apart from local police, personnel of the State Reserve Police Force (DRPF), Riot Control Police, Quick Response Teams, Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads, and additional 600 policemen will be deployed on the morcha route,’ the Mumbai Police spokesperson said.
‘Besides, CCTVs and drones will be used for monitoring the crowd,’ the traffic police officer added.
In the moves viewed as his party’s endeavour to jump onto the Hindutva bandwagon, the MNS chief had last month launched a new saffron flag bearing the royal seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
According to political observers, the MNS, which was relegated to the margins in Maharashtra politics after successive electoral drubbings in the last ten years, is trying to fill the Hindutva vacuum believed to have been created after the Shiv Sena joined hands with the NCP and Congress to form a government in November last year.
In his recent interview to party mouthpiece Saamana, Shiv Sena president and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had denied that his party had abandoned the agenda of Hindutva.
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