In a show of strength of an united Opposition, Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies on Saturday marched for the ‘Halla Bol’ rally against the Eknath Shinde-BJP government, and demanded the removal of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for making “insulting” remarks against iconic personalities, including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Termed ‘MahaMorcha’ by the MVA, the rally convened at Richardson and Cruddas compound at Nagpada around 11.15 am and concluded around 2 pm with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, NCP’s Ajit Pawar, and Congress state president Nana Patole addressing a large gathering outside CSMT at Fort.
This is the first time the MVA has put up an united front in front of the public since it lost power in June.
In Uddhav Thackeray’s words, the protest was held to “shake the Maharashtra government” and “tear Delhi’s (Union government) eardrums with protest”. Addressing the gathering, he added that the protest is being held to “uphold Maharashtra’s pride” and “unite all those who love Maharashtra and cannot bear to see it insulted time and again”.
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“I was asked if I will walk, and I said ‘I am not walking alone, lakhs of people are walking with me’. This is symbolic of our criticism and protest against the government for its wrongdoings. Everyone must have seen today, the strength of our unity, and this is probably for the first time since the ‘Sanyukta Maharashtra’ struggle that we have all come together for the same cause,” Thackeray said.
He added, “Many protests were held for an unified Maharashtra 60-62 years ago. They gave us an unified Maharashtra with Mumbai, but we still do not have a unified Maharashtra with Belagavi, Karvar and Nippani, and we will not rest until we have it.”
On the government scrapping MVA decision to set up an aquarium on the plot belonging to Worli Dairy in Mumbai, Thackeray said, “Mumbai is our pride, it is our karmabhoomi and our janmabhoomi. But this government only weighs it in per square foot space. We will not let the aquarium get cancelled on the Worli Dairy plot, which they now might…. and sell land to some private builders. With so many people gathering here today, we will make sure they do not get to do this.”
Sharad Pawar told the protesters, “We have come together to uphold the pride of Maharashtra, which is under attack. Those in the government are using derogatory language and insulting our ideals and our idols. Lakhs of you all have gathered here today. This gives an indication to the ruing party that if they do not learn from their mistakes, we will not sit still and use democratic means to teach them a lesson.”
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut claimed that the government will not exist till next February. “Today’s morcha has dismissed Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. This is a massive march to oust the Governor and this government. This march has warned that you will not see the Shinde-Fadnavis government in February.”
While all allies demanded that the Governor be removed, Ajit Pawar also sought that ministers who made derogatory remarks against Mahatma Pule and Dr B R Ambedkar, among others, be removed.