Taking his ‘Marathi Manoos’ agenda a step further, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Monday asked the legislators in the new Assembly to take oath “only in Marathi” or face his party’s wrath.
“The House will witness what my MLAs will do if anyone dares to take oath in other languages,” Mr. Raj told reporters.
MNS has 13 MLAs in the 288-member House.
“In Karnataka, a Marathi-speaking MLA was expelled from the House as he could not speak in Kannada. Will our legislators show the same attitude about Marathi,” Mr.Raj asked.
Mr. Raj’s statement follows his recent warning to Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Asim Azmi who had demanded the House agenda in Hindi.
“Hindi is our national language and it should come after Marathi,” Mr. Azmi, elected from Mankhurd and Bhiwandi seats, had said in his letter to Assembly secretary.
Furious over Mr. Azmi’s demand, Raj Thackeray, known for his anti-North Indian campaign, said “if Azmi wants the House agenda in Hindi, then he should go to Uttar Pradesh.”
A mellowed Azmi had later said, “I have nothing against Marathi. I respect the language which I understand but cannot speak as my mother tongue is Hindi. But I will try to learn Marathi.”