Shiv Sena leaders pave way for Ayodhya visit

Updated: Nov 20, 2018, 13:34 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar | Mumbai

However, with Shiv Sena leaders meeting BJP state chief and UP state machinery, Congress has accused both saffron parties of having a tacit understanding on the Ram Mandir issue

Posters across the city upheld the 'Chalo Ayodhya' call by the party
Posters across the city upheld the 'Chalo Ayodhya' call by the party

As Shiv Sena gears up for the big day - party chief Uddhav Thackeray's visit to Ayodhya over the weekend - two senior party leaders on Monday met Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, home secretary and senior police officers. Party MP Sanjay Raut and Shiv Sena secretary Milind Narvekar are likely to meet UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday morning.

However, with Sena leaders meeting BJP state chief and UP state machinery, Congress has accused both saffron parties of having a tacit understanding on the Ram Mandir issue.

Ashok Chavan, Maharashtra Congress president said, "Sena-BJP are like two sides of one coin. In the state assembly and BMC polls, they fought against each other but came together to claim power. On similar lines, Sena is raking up the mandir issue with the help of BJP. Why else would the UP machinery meet Sena leaders ahead of Thackeray's visit?"

"Ram Naik is also a stalwart from Maharashtra apart from being the UP governor. A visit to him is a courtesy call. Also, we met the administration and police to ensure law and order during the visit," Raut said.

However, with the BJP failing to tackle the Ram Mandir issue convincingly, Sena seems to be mounting pressure on its ally. 'Har Hindu ki yahi pukar, pehle mandir phir sarkar' is a slogan the party has coined over the issue, ahead of the chief's visit to Ayodhya on November 24 and 25. The idea of 'Chalo Ayodhya' is the brainchild of party secretary Milind Narvekar and was put out on hoardings for Thackeray's birthday.

"Uddhav saheb will meet Hindu saints, conduct aarti and address the media or might even have a rally in UP. To ensure the smooth execution of these plans, two senior Sena leaders would have met concerned UP authorities," a senior Sena leader from Mumbai said, adding, "I see nothing wrong in this." "The Ram Mandir issue is very close to the heart of every BJP leader. It is not about politics or vote bank. So, BJP will always co-operate with anyone who takes up the mandir issue," BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said.

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