BJP ally RPI’s chief and Union Minister Ramdas Athawale slams Raj Thackeray’s stance against mosques

Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale, whose party RPI is an ally of BJP, said that latter was unlikely to entertain any political understanding with Raj Thackeray

Union Minister Ramdas Athawale (file photo)
Union Minister Ramdas Athawale (file photo)
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Nadeem Inamdar/Pune

Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Saturday lambasted MNS chief Raj Thackeray for his ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ speech and called his public stand as ‘taking the path of violence’ aimed at dividing the society.

Addressing media persons at the circuit house in Pune, Athawale said that Republic Party of India (RPI) workers will provide security to mosques if MNS workers recite ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ in front of them on May 3.

Thackeray, during a recent visit to Pune, had issued an ultimatum to Maharashtra government seeking removal of loudspeakers from mosques by May 3 failing which his partymen would play ‘ Hanuman Chalisa’ at higher volumes outside them.

Athawale, whose party RPI is an ally of the BJP, said, “Nobody should use such threatening language against the minorities. Even Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray did not seek their removal. The stand of Raj Thackeray is against the Constitution of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. The MNS chief is wrong about the issue. Even Muslim religious leaders must refrain from giving tit for tat replies to such provocations. The police must keep strict vigil and take strong action against those who take law in their hands.”

He said that the state government must seriously look into the loudspeaker issue and must not give permission for the public meeting of Raj Thackeray scheduled to take place in Aurangabad on May 1. “There is a sizeable Muslim population in Aurangabad and it could lead to a communal tension in the city. The state government must not allow Raj Thackeray to address a public gathering there,” he said.

Athawale added, “It is wrong to oppose Azan as it takes place for a few minutes and does not cause any disturbance or harm to anybody. It is impossible that the BJP will tie up with MNS. Raj Thackeray cannot come till I am with the BJP. It will not be profitable for the BJP to go with Thackeray,” he said.

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