Mumbai, (The Hindu): After targeting migrant population in Mumbai, since the formation of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) 12 years ago, party chief Raj Thackeray will be addressing north Indian population for the first time in Kandivali on December 2.
Mr. Thackeray has accepted the invitation of Uttar Bharatiya Manch, an NGO, working with north Indians. This comes months after the MNS chief spoke at a programme organised by the Jain community in Pune. The MNS had objected to instances of non-vegetarian Marathi families not being allowed to buy a flat in residential societies dominated and constructed by Jains.
“A number of north Indians tell us that they have been living in Mumbai for generations and consider this city as their home. Just because their leaders did not ensure development in their States, they had to relocate to Mumbai,” Sandip Deshpande, an MNS leader from Dadar, said.
According to Mr. Deshpande, north Indians told Mr. Thackeray that his statements always get misconstrued by the media. “They want to hear what Rajsaheb speaks first hand, and wanted to invite him for the function,” he said.
According to sources, the move comes in the backdrop of growing pressure within the MNS on Mr. Thackeray to open communication doors with north Indians, if the party wants to remain in electoral politics.
“We are not scared of criticism. We communicated with the Jain community; then what’s wrong in interacting with north Indians? Even Pranabda spoke from the RSS platform; he did not speak the RSS’ language but spoke his ideology. We will also speak what we stand for,” Mr. Deshpande said.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam said Mr. Thackeray should first apologise to north Indians for the past attacks before attending the programme.
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