Mumbai: Shiv Sena, BJP workers both claim credit for Ram Mandir station

Updated: Dec 23, 2016, 12:24 IST | A Correspondent

It would have been like the inauguration of any other railway station, but for the altercation between Shiv Sena and BJP workers, who were competing over which party had done the most to name the place Ram Mandir station

DCP Deepak Devraj collects flags from BJP and Shiv Sena workers as Railway minister Suresh Prabhu and others on the dais look on. Pics/Nimesh Dave
DCP Deepak Devraj collects flags from BJP and Shiv Sena workers as Railway minister Suresh Prabhu and others on the dais look on. Pics/Nimesh Dave

It would have been like the inauguration of any other railway station, but for the altercation between Shiv Sena and BJP workers, who were competing over which party had done the most to name the place Ram Mandir station. Surprisingly, party leaders remained mum during the function yesterday to inaugurate the station between Jogeshwari and Goregaon.

Ministers — both from the Centre and state — arrived at the station by 3.45pm. They were followed by workers, some who were shouting slogans, and carrying flags of their political parties. The function took place on the concourse of the foot overbridge that got jam-packed, mostly by the party supporters.

Also Read: First train arrives at Ram Mandir station

None of the party leaders were able to speak on the mike, which is otherwise their favourite job. When Vidya Thakur, BJP leader and minister of state for Women and Child Development started giving her speech, Shiv Sena supporters started shouting slogans about Balasaheb Thackeray. "We have taken a lot of effort to name this station," is all that Thakur said.

The chief guest for the inauguration was Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu
The chief guest for the inauguration was Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu

Many were shouting that though the actual Ram Mandir couldn't be constructed at Ayodhya, they had managed one in Mumbai. As the BJP workers felt the heat, they began shouting Modi Zindabad and raised party flags. The women supporters started standing right in front of the dias as chaos reigned.

Leaders were quiet
All the leaders did was to keep quiet and watch the drama as the RPF and GRP struggled to control the crowds. Kirit Somaiya, BJP MP, left the spot in 5 minutes. When Transport Minister Diwakar Raote came to speak, Sena party workers started showing Rs 2,000 notes and shouted, "note bandh karne wale." The BJP workers then started shouting Jai Modi.

Read Story: State plans to change names of six more railway stations

Suresh Prabhu, the union Railway Minister, who had come to inaugurate the station, was also forced to leave the venue within minutes. All he could do was cut the ribbon. When he start saying something about former rail minister Ram Naik, supporters from both sides began their barrage of slogans. The rail authorities kept pleading with the supporters to calm down.

Fear of unruly crowd
Sources said that they feared the people would go onto the tracks and cause a law and order problem. So the ministers and party leaders were asked to leave soon, and their body guards surrounded them to protect from the slogan shouting workers. Gradually the GRP and RPF began taking the party flags from their hands and asked them to disperse. Later, as trains began to halt at Ram Mandir station, the Guard was asked to announce the name as it has not been fed into the passenger announcement system.

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