The party tries to lure Marathi voters by assaulting north Indian fruit vendors at Ghatkopar.
With an eye on the 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has once again revived the Marathi manoos agenda by assaulting fruit vendors at Amrutnagar, Ghatkopar. MNS activists had thrown the baskets of fruits on road and vandalised vendors’ carts. The party has been opposing the stalls set up by north Indian vendors. The hawkers were threatened to leave the area and return to their hometown. According to sources, the MNS activists resorted to violence as farmers had gone to the area for selling vegetables were stopped by north Indian vendors. Farmers then took up this matter with local MNS leaders Vibhag Pramukh and Ganesh Bhagat. Bhagat and other MNS activists assaulted north Indian vendors and asked farmers to carry on their business. Through this incident the MNS is only trying to regain its lost foothold in the city.
MNS group leader Sandeep Deshpande said, “We are only fighting for providing justice to sons of the soil who are sidelined in the city. We can’t tolerate any assault against local people hence we gave a befitting reply to north Indian fruit vendors. If somebody tries to prevent farmers to sell their produce in the city then our activists will take strict action against them. We complained in the police station, BMC but no one is ready to take responsibility. Therefore, we had to intervene for rescuing him,” he said.
On the other hand, Mumbai BJP Chief Ashish Shelar condemned the incident and said, “If anybody takes law into their own hands then legal action will be taken against them. MNS must first work for the welfare of farmers instead of indulging in violent activities on streets. The party must assist farmers to set up their stalls and sell their produce in the city and also frame a policy for their welfare.”
“Already farmers are committing suicide in the state and people only try to politicise this issue instead of providing financial assistance to them. Farmers won’t stand to benefit out of violence incidents. The MNS is already known for indulging in these kinds of publicity stunts,” he added.
MNS is also flexing its political muscle in Ghatkopar where its former party leader Ram Kadam is a MLA with the BJP. A police complaint has been filed against the MNS workers at the Ghatkopar police station. Police had arrested Bhagat and other party activists but later they were granted bail.