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Maharashtra: Ajit Pawar targets Raj Thackeray, calls his agitations on various issues ‘unsuccessful’


In a veiled attack on Raj Thackeray who has raised the issue of loudspeakers atop mosques, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday said the agitations held by the MNS chief over various issues have adversely impacted the state and the society, and claimed that none of his protests have gained success so far.

Pawar was speaking to reporters here amid a row over Raj Thackeray’s call to play Hanuman Chalisa if mosques are found broadcasting ‘azaan’ on loudspeakers.

“The person who brought up the issue of loudspeakers had once announced an agitation against toll tax on highways and said the toll collection would be stopped. A protest to that effect was held on the Pune-Mumbai highway, but nothing materialised out of it. It went on for a couple of days, but nothing happened,” Pawar said without naming Raj Thackeray.

The agitations carried out by this person have adversely impacted the state and the society, he said.

“What if toll plazas are shut in the country tomorrow. Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari asserts that because of toll collection, all these highways were completed,” the senior NCP leader said.

He also recalled the agitation by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) against migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

“After this agitation against workers from UP and Bihar, construction activities in Maharashtra came to a halt. Builders then complained that they did not have labourers for construction work. The migrant workers had to be brought back,” he added.

Pawar said the MNS’s agitation against hawkers also failed.

“At several big dairies, people from UP and Bihar are hired to milk cows and buffaloes,” he added.

The deputy CM said that due to this row over loudspeakers, the ‘kakad aarti’ (prayer at dawn) at Shirdi’s Saibaba temple on the loudspeaker was stopped. A similar thing happened at Lord Vitthal temple in Pandharpur.

The Supreme Court guidelines about decibel level of loudspeakers between 6 am and 10 pm have to be implemented everywhere, which will put those who want to take big public meetings after sunset in a fix, he added.

“I am concerned about the rural parts where several religious events such as ‘Harinam Saptah’, jagran-gondhal take place at night, because if rules are to be imposed, they will be same for everyone,” he said.

Taking a dig at the MNS president, Pawar said some people give orders to their party workers by remaining indoors, although it is the workers who face the cases.

When there are several raging issues before us, what is the need of fanning the sentiments of people on such (loudspeaker) topics, he asked.


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