Mumbai on Saturday will witness the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi’s (MVA) ‘Halla Bol’ protest march against the Eknath Shinde government in Maharashtra over various issues, as well as a counter-protest by the ruling ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). About 2,500 police personnel will be on the streets to ensure that no untoward incident takes place, officials said. The MVA allies Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress would be taking out the ‘morcha’ (protest march) against the “injustice” meted out to Maharashtra, “insults” of the state’s icons like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, and “atrocities’ against Marathi-speakers in border areas of Karnataka as well as industrial projects being taken out of the state, the leaders of these parties have said.
State Congress president Nana Patole has said that people’s anger against the government of the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction and BJP will be expressed through the morcha. The march will start near JJ Hospital and end at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in south Mumbai.
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The MVA protest is being seen as an attempt to rally the allies after the Uddhav Thackeray-led alliance government was toppled in June this year. BJP’s Mumbai unit chief Ashish Shelar on Friday announced that his party would also organize its own ‘Maafi Mango’ protest in Mumbai on Saturday demanding apology from the MVA for “insulting” Dr BR Ambedkar and Hindu deities.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut tried to create a controversy over Ambedkar’s birthplace, while another leader Sushma Andhare “insulted” Lord Ram, Lord Krishna, saint Dynaneshwar and saint Eknath as well as the Warkari community, he alleged.
Shelar, a former state minister, alleged that Raut made a false statement that Ambedkar was born in Maharashtra, which was an attempt to create controversy over his birthplace. Dr BR Ambedkar was born at Mhow in Madhya Pradesh.
Meanwhile, an official said that the city police has given permission for the MVA’s protest march on the condition that the organizers obtain necessary permissions from the traffic department and civic body. Adequate number of police personnel will be deployed on the route of the march to maintain law and order, he added.
While granting permission, the police also asked the leaders of all political parties not to make provocative speeches during the march or use posters, placards or banners that may hurt the sentiments of any person, the official added.
As many as 317 police officers, 1,870 constables, 22 platoons of State Reserve Police Force and at least 30 squads of Riot Control Police will be on hand to maintain law and order, he said.
(With inputs from PTI)