It’s a publicity gimmick by the MNS which has lost its foothold in the state says AIMIM leaders.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief Raj Thackeray celebrated his 48th birthday in an unusual manner by cutting cake containing the image of AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi. MNS party workers had arrived at Thackeray’s residence to greet him on the occasion of his birthday. They also had bought the cake with Owaisi’s image on it. Raj seems to have taken an inspiration from Former Advocate General of Maharashtra Shrihari Aney who had earlier sliced a cake containing the map of Maharashtra into four parts. Aney had demanded statehood for Vidarbha region. At that time Raj had said that Maharashtra is not a cake which can be sliced into pieces.
AIMIM has criticised Raj Thackeray for indulging in this act and said that he has insulted Owaisi. AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan said, “We have demanded action against those who have cut the cake.”
Raish Shaikh vice president AIMIM, Mumbai said, “MNS is indulging in this act to garner publicity as the party has lost its foothold in Maharashtra after facing defeat in assembly polls. Right now we don’t have any intention to retaliate but we may file a case against MNS. We will follow the instructions of our senior leaders in this regard.”
Hasan Mulani, AIMIM secretary Thane district said, “This is purely a political stunt and an attempt to break public harmony. Through this act Raj wants to alienate Muslims and also show that he is the messiah for Hindu voters. Let me clearly say that Raj Thackeray has become history. Raj is free to do whatever he wants but people of Maharashtra will never vote for him.”
A leader from AIMIM spoke on the condition of anonymity and said, “What is Raj going to gain by cutting the cake containing the image of our leader? Why can’t he work for the welfare of the people and start building his party at the grassroots level. He is only trying to spread enmity between two communities.”
Raj had targeted Owaisi triggered a row early this year saying he would not chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, even if a knife is put to his throat.
“Come to Maharashtra, I will put a knife to your throat,” the MNS chief had said.
Raj and Owaisi have always shared a bitter relationship and have taken potshots against each other in the past. Both of them are known for their hate speeches and draw large number of crowds at their rallies. Raj had quit Shiv Sena in 2006 to form his own party MNS as he was being sidelined by his uncle Bal Thackeray who had appointed his son Uddhav Thackeray as his successor. MNS had played spoilsport in 2009 Maharashtra assembly polls by winning 13 seats. It helped the Congress to retain power by weakening Shiv Sena. However, situation changed drastically in 2014 as the party was able to win only a single seat in the state.