Ahead of All-India Congress Committee general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Mumbai on Friday, the State machinery is on tenterhooks, given the climate of intimidation created by the Shiv Sena. Mr. Gandhi, visiting the city as part of the Youth Congress membership drive, is scheduled to hold two meetings — one with students and the other with slum youths.
The Sena has threatened to show black flags to Mr. Gandhi for his remarks on Mumbai. Talking to journalists here on Thursday, Home Minister R.R. Patil said: “Enough is enough. There is a limit to tolerance. If anyone issues a threat, we will not take it lying down.” He has directed the police to take legal advice on what action could be taken in respect of all controversial statements made by the Shiv Sena.
“In the light of the oral and written statements being made [by the Sena] in the past 15 days, I have instructed the police to seek the advice of the Advocate-General and the Law and Judiciary Department. We have to see what laws have been breached to take appropriate action, because the case has to hold water in the court of law.”
Dismissing the situation in the city as a media creation, Mr. Patil felt that there was, in fact, “no issue at all.” He said the Sena was whipping up sentiments with an eye on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections scheduled for 2012. “Who is talking of taking away Mumbai? They just don’t have any issue to talk about,” he said. Meanwhile, the whole of the Mumbai police will be engaged in security duty.
Talking to The Hindu, Mumbai Police Commissioner D. Sivanandan said: “There is excellent security for Mr. Rahul Gandhi. We are fully aware of the Sena’s threat, and we are taking all steps to see that his visit is successful and goes without any [untoward incident]. We are contemplating preventive arrests. As of now, there have not been any.”