Thursday will be an important day for Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray.
MNS has planned a rally on Thursday morning from Metro theatre to Churchgate to protest against the poor quality of railway infrastructure in Mumbai, days after a stampede at the Elphinstone Road station killed 23 people and injured 38 others. Over 50,000 supporters are expected to attend.
Thackeray has said that he will himself participate in the rally in front of Western Railway headquarters in Churchgate on Thursday, reported The Asian Age.
MNS workers on Tuesday travelled in local trains, asking people to participate in the rally.
The party has also released a video for the planned rally.
MNS leaders Sandip Deshpande, Satyawan Dalvi and Snehal Jadhav also met rail commuters on various stations in the city and asked them to join Thackeray's rally on Thursday.
However, as of 11 am on Wednesday, Thackeray had not got permission for the march from the police.
In 2012, after violence in Azad Maidan in the city, MNS had taken out a massive rally demanding the removal of the commissioner of police. Soon after, the Mumbai police commissioner had been transferred.
It will interesting to see what effect Thackeray's rally on Thursday has on Mumbai, especially because MNS' political influence has been dwindling in the city.
According to Livemint, Thackeray had visited Gujarat and had been accorded the status of a state guest by the then chief minister Narendra Modi. Thackeray had then praised the Gujarat model of development and had backed Modi as prime minister in 2014.
But over the last year, Thackeray has turned into a Modi critic. MNS members feel that this is a paradigm shift in the strategy adopted by the party.
On Saturday, Thackeray had also spoken out against the bullet train project. "While people are struggling to survive in the cities, Modi is asking them to do yoga and campaign for Swachh Bharat. We will launch a 'no bullet train campaign'," he had said.
Thackeray had also alleged that Suresh Prabhu was replaced by Piyush Goyal as railway minister only to push through the bullet train project. "This Goyal is useless, Prabhu was good...Does one need bullet train or improvement of basic rail infrastructure?" he had said.
He had also called Modi a "liar". "We have never seen a PM who is such a big liar. He made big promises and then dismissed them as 'election jumlas'. How much can a person lie in this fashion?" he had said.
And quite predictably, Thackeray had said that MNS will look into this issue in their own "style" if the rally did not work. "A list of issues related to local trains in Mumbai will be given to the railways on 5 October. But if things don't get better, we will look into the issue in our style," he had said.
Keeping in mind MNS' history of violence, there are no prizes for guessing what that "style" probably means.
With inputs from Sanjay Sawant
Updated Date: Oct 04, 2017 19:28 PM