No left, only right in Raj Thackeray's march today

Updated: Feb 09, 2020, 07:28 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

MNS chief will be opposing illegal Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Pic/Satej Shinde
Pic/Satej Shinde

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray's 'right' turn is expected to go sharper on Sunday when he leads a march to oppose the illegal Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Thackeray had given 14-year-old MNS a make-over last month by changing the party's multi-colour flag to only saffron with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's official seal (Rajmudra). He also announced support to the government mechanism that keeps illegal migrants out.

And, when his stand was taken as supplementary to the CAA, Raj ruled out support to the controversial law that faces a public outcry and constitutional scrutiny. But, it is still believed that Raj wants NRC, which is equally opposed on the streets and in the political forum to be implemented at the earliest. This contrasts the position his cousin and CM Uddhav Thackeray holds. Raj's neo strategy is seen as an effort to divert the Sena vote bloc that holds Hindutva very close to the heart.
MNS leaders promised to make the march a memorable one in terms of participation and discipline. An MNS leader said the party has mobilised about two lakh workers from across Maharashtra, who have started arriving in the city. He also expected tacit support from Shiv Sena workers, upset over their party's departure from hardline Hindutva, though CM Thackeray has said that he hasn't cut off the saffron rope.

In a balancing act, Uddhav has taken a firm stand that the Maharashtra government would not pass a resolution to oppose the law even as the Congress wanted such a resolution. Simply put, Raj opposes CAA and supports NRC, while Uddhav supports CAA but doesn't want NRC because it would also hamper all, including Hindus. So, it will be interesting to see what Raj says about the CAA and NRC and also about the state politics that has changed completely after the three parties came together to form a government.

According to sources, the Mumbai Police who are averse to allowing the march, but have no issues with a rally at Azad Maidan, have been assured full cooperation from MNS. MNS leader Shirish Sawant said Raj will join the morcha at 12 pm from Hindu Gymkhana, where MNS workers have been asked to assemble. The march will pass through Marine Lines, Metro Cinema and Fashion Street before culminating at Azad Maidan, he said. Participants have been asked to leave vehicles at Marine Drive

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