Maharasthra Navnirman Sena: Though his party is not contesting Lok Sabha election, but MNS chief Raj Thackeray is addressing rallies in the state against BJP which has accused him of helping NCP-Congress.
Maharashtra Election 2019: Election Commission has allowed firebrand Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Chief Raj Thackeray to address public rallies in Mumbai. Raj Thackeray’s party has not fielded any candidates in the ongoing Lok Sabha election but Raj Thackeray is campaigning against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, attacking the party in his rallies.
There were reports that following a complaint from the BJP, Election Commission has barred MNS chief from addressing public rallies in the state but the poll panel clarified that it has allowed the firebrand leader to address a public rally in Mumbai.
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“Kindly note that the election machinery has not barred MNS chief Raj Thackeray from addressing a public meeting in Mumbai,” said Deputy District Election Officer of Mumbai.
“The permission has been granted for meeting on 21/04/2019 through one window system,” clarified the election officer following the criticism that the poll body was curtailing the freedom of speech at the behest of ruling party BJP.
Though Raj Thackeray’s party has already announced last month that it will not field candidates in this Lok Sabha election. However, his rallies in Maratha dominated areas of the state were attracting huge crowds due to his sharp speeches laced with humour and sarcasm.
Maharashtra BJP has accused Raj Tackeray for indirectly campaigning for NCP-Shiv Sena alliance in the state. The party also approached Election Commission to add the expenses incurred on Raj Thackeray’s rallies to the election expenditure of the Congress and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party. BJP has accused NCP-Congress of backing Raj Thackeray to canvass support against the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in the state.
Raj Thackeray, whose party Maharasthra Navnirman Sena, has often been in the news for targeting north-Indian settlers and job seekers in the state capital Mumbai, had openly supported Narendra Modi ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However, the firebrand Maratha leader fell out of favour of the BJP after the party refused to ditch its oldest ally Shiv Sena led by Raj’s estranged elder cousin Uddhav Thackeray to ally with him in the state.