Raj Thackeray should apologise to north Indians before Ayodhya visit: Union minister Athawale


Thane, May 17

Union minister and RPI(A) chief Ramdas Athawale has asked MNS head Raj Thackeray to apologise to north Indians before visiting Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh next month.

Talking to reporters on Monday during his visit here, Athawale said Maharashtra needs a Brahmin chief minister.

Union minister and senior BJP leader Raosaheb Danve had earlier this month said he wishes to see a Brahmin community member as the chief minister of Maharashtra, currently headed by Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray.

Recently, BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh opposed Raj Thackeray’s proposed visit to Ayodhya on June 5 and warned that he will not be allowed to enter the Uttar Pradesh city till he tendered a public apology for “humiliating” north Indians.

The MNS, in its initial years, championed the cause of ‘Marathi Manoos’, and had launched an agitation in 2008 during which candidates from north India, who arrived at Kalyan near here to take a railway exam, were assaulted.

Last month, Raj Thackeray demanded loudspeakers be removed from mosques in Maharashtra, a stand which the main opposition BJP supported.

Athawale said, “Before going to Ayodhya, Raj Thackeray should apologise to north Indians.” The RPI(A) leader said Maharashtra needs a “Brahmin chief minister”. Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis was the right choice for the top post in the state, he added.

The Union minister said the Shiv Sena made a “grave mistake” by aligning with the Congress and the NCP to form government in Maharashtra.

Athawale, whose party is a constituent of the NDA government at the Centre, said his outfit will contest the 2024 Maharashtra Assembly election in alliance with the BJP, and expressed confidence that they will win the polls and come to power.