Reiterating his demand to remove loudspeakers from mosques, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Tuesday said that he wants the state government to hold discussions with maulavis of mosques till Eid on May 3 to ensure loudspeakers are removed. He also appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring Uniform Civil Code and act to control population growth.
“Ramzaan month is going on and Eid is on May 3. Today is April 12 and I want state government to call Maulavis of all the mosques in Maharashtra and ensure that loudspeakers are removed by Eid. If not, we will start playing Hanuman Chalisa in front of every mosque,” he said, addressing a public rally at neighbouring Thane.
Replying the criticism on him that he is singing Bharatiya Janata Party’s tune, Mr. Thackeray said that he speaks what he wants and targets whoever is at fault. “They (his opponents) say that I first opposed Narendra Modi and now singing BJP’s tune. I want to remind all that I was the first one to congratulate Narendra Modi over removing Article 370. I was the first one to demand Modi as country’s Prime Minister. I now want Narendra Modi to bring Uniform Civil Code and an act to control country’s population growth,” he said.
Mr. Thackeray in his rally on Gudi Padwa at Shivaji Park in Mumbai on April 2 had created controversy after asking his party workers to play Hanuman Chalisa in front of mosques if they continue to play Azaan on loudspeakers. Following it, he decided to hold another rally to answer all the criticism over his warning.
“This is not a communal issue. It is a social issue. Why should we hear prayers of others? Why should they be allowed to block roads? Today, I want to tell all Hindus in the country to come forward and start playing Hanuman Chalisa in front of mosques after Eid if loudspeakers are not removed,” he said. Mr. Thackeray, while replying to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said that he has been talking about loudspeakers on mosques for many years and not today. “Let me repeat it. We will not back down on the issue of loudspeakers in mosques,” he said.
Targeting NCP chief Sharad Pawar by claiming he promotes the politics of casteism in Maharashtra, Mr. Thackeray claimed that NCP leaders had no right to blame him for changing political positions. “It was Sharad Pawar who left Congress over Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin issue and then decided to become part of the state government in Maharashtra, months after,” he said.