In Uncle’s Footsteps? Loudspeaker Deadline Ends, Raj Thackeray Tweets Bal Thackeray Video to ‘Justify’ Stir

Bal Thackeray’s once-upon-a-time heir apparent Raj Thackeray seems to be trying to fit into his uncle’s ‘Hindutva’ shoes in an effort to reinvent himself and resuscitate his political career. And if there were any doubts, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief on Wednesday took to Twitter to share a video of the late Sena patriarch advocating for removal of loudspeakers from mosques — a cause Raj Thackeray has been spearheading in Maharashtra.

As the MNS chief’s ultimatum to the state government on the removal of the sound systems from mosques post-Eid ends, the 54-year-old leader seems to have found a new way to garner support for his campaign.

In the video, Bal Thackeray can be seen addressing a huge crowd as he thunders that the day Shiv Sena comes to power, the party will stop Muslims from offering ‘namaaz’ on the roads. Bal Thackeray also says will remove loudspeakers from mosques, adding that acts “which cause hindrance to nation-building” should not be allowed.

The MNS has been targeting Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over the loudspeaker row, saying it was a shame that while Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray was the first to advocate for the removal of loudspeakers from mosques, his son had booked Raj Thackeray for the same.

Earlier too, the party had propped up a banner outside the Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar accusing Uddhav Thackeray of removing loudspeakers put up by Hindus.

Addressed to Bal Thackeray, the banner said, “See, your son CM Uddhav Thackeray, despite being a Hindu, is asking us to remove loudspeakers put up by Hindus. He is banning us from reciting Hanuman Chalisa. If anyone is carrying forward your legacy and is your true heir, it is only Raj Thackeray.”

As his cousin helms the state as chief minister, Raj Thackeray is now aping his uncle in optics too. Wrapped in a saffron shawl, the leader starts his speech with the familiar “Jamlelya majhya tamam Hindu Mata, bhagini ani bhadhu… (Greetings to my Hindu mothers, sisters and brothers),” just as Bal Thackeray did.

On May 1, the MNS chief while addressing a mega rally in Aurangabad in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra had asked people to play Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques from May 4 if loudspeakers there were not removed.

He had also reiterated his demand for the removal of loudspeakers from mosques by May 3, and added that if this was not done, then all Hindus should play the Hanuman Chalisa outside these religious places.

The police booked Raj Thackeray and the rally organisers under various IPC sections, including 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot).

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