CPI (M) leader opposed adjournment motion in Parliament after Thackeray’s death

Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury on Saturday cancelled his visit to Mumbai, amidst threats from the Shiv Sena to disrupt his programme. He was scheduled to address the State convention of the All India Insurance Employees Association (AIIEA) at Dadar in Central Mumbai.

Mr. Yechury opposed the adjournment motion raised in Parliament after the death of Sena chief Bal Thackeray. Calling it an insult to Thackeray, the Sena had given a call to disrupt Mr. Yechury’s public meeting. Dadar is a bastion of the saffron party and Shivaji Park, the ground where last rites of Thackeray were performed also falls under Dadar. Mr. Yechury has, however, rubbished the claims that he cancelled his visit following threats from the Sena.

“We received calls from Sena bhavan on Saturday afternoon and were asked to gather in the square in front of Plaza theatre [in Dadar]. The instruction was to not let the programme of Yechury happen,” said a Sena activist. An SMS that was circulated among Sena activists read, ‘Reach Veer Lotwal Udyan, Opp Plaza Cinema, Dadar (w) by 3.00. Andolan aahe (Agitation has been planned).’ The message also called for the assembly of office bearers of the party as soon as possible.

“The protest was not planned before; it was the spontaneous reaction of party workers. Sainiks were angry that he opposed the adjournment motion,” said Anil Desai, Rajya Sabha MP and secretary of the party.

“We had deployed police personnel in large numbers there as the Sena opposed Mr. Yechury’s presence there. They were miffed that Mr. Yechury did not support the adjournment motion in Parliament after it offered condolences to Balasaheb Thackeray. But the meeting went on peacefully,” Dhananjay Kulkarni, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone V) told The Hindu.

Rubbishing claims by the Sena, in a text message sent to The Hindu, Mr. Yechury said he had to participate in the funeral of the former Prime Minister, Inder Kumar Gujaral, which began at 3 p.m. and hence could not make it to Mumbai.

The official statement of the Maharashtra State Committee of the CPI (M) has, however, said Mr. Yechury cancelled his visit in view of the seven-day national mourning in homage to Gujral.