Shiv Sena Growls As ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ Row Knocks On Uddhav Thackeray’s Door

Police increased security outside ‘Matoshree’

Mumbai: Shiv Sena workers gathered in large numbers outside the apartment of Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana in Mumbai this morning, and shouted slogans after the couple announced that they would recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside ‘Matoshree’, the residence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

The Shiv Sena workers broke through the barricades and tried to enter the premises of the legislator couple’s residence in Suburban Khar, however, the police brought the situation under control and stopped the Shiv Sena workers from going further.

Both Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana are independent legislators from the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra.

On Friday, a team led by Deputy Commissioner of Police Manjunath Singe visited the Rane residence and served them a notice, asking them to maintain law and order.

Police have increased security outside ‘Matoshree’ and placed barricades on the road leading to the Thackeray residence to avoid crowding. Police personnel were deployed outside the couple’s apartment as well after Shiv Sena workers yesterday turned up there and dared the couple to step out of their residence.

However, unfazed by the Shiv Sena’s ire and notice by Mumbai Police, the couple maintained they were firm on their plan. “Maharashtra Chief Minister ordered Shiv Sena workers to heckle us. They’re breaking the barricades. I’m reiterating that I’ll go outside and will chant Hanuman Chalisa at ‘Matroshree’,” alleged Navneet Rana.

Shiv Sena workers, who have strongly objected to the politician couple’s plan, have been camping outside ‘Matoshree’ since yesterday. Former Mumbai Mayor and Shiv Sena leader Kishori Pednekar said, “we have accepted the challenge of the Rana couple. Let them come, we are ready to welcome them and give them ‘prasad’.”

The party accused the BJP of hatching a conspiracy to harass the Sena-led coalition government in the state and using the Ranas and MNS Chief Raj Thackeray as pawns.

“They were prompted to do this by someone. Shiv Sena workers are here to protect ‘Matoshree’, said Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai.

Senior party leader Sanjay Raut said the Hanuman Chalisa and Ram Navami were matters of faith and not an occasion for some stunt.

Mr Raut described the Rana couple as ‘Bunty aur Babli’, referring to a Hindi movie. “People like Rana are characters in the nautanki (drama) and stunt of the BJP. People don’t take this stunt seriously,” he said.

Ravi Rana had demanded earlier this month that the Chief Minister recite Hanuman Chalisa at his residence on Hanuman Jayanti. His demand followed Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray’s ‘ultimatum’ to the state government to remove loudspeakers from mosques by May 3.

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