On Saturday, the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) launched its ‘Halla Bol’ protest march against the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government over a variety of concerns.
The march began at midday at a firm near J J Hospital in Byculla and will end at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in south Mumbai.
The protest has been organised to target the Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state on issues including the “insult” of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and social reformers Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and others through their remarks; the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute and projects from the state being shifted elsewhere.
The MVA protest is being interpreted as an attempt to unify the allies following the demise of the Uddhav Thackeray-led alliance government in June of this year.
Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Congress leaders and members have gathered near the J J Hospital since the morning. They were spotted holding banners, posters, and portraits of Shivaji Maharaj and the Phules as the march began about midday.
Sunil Tatkare, a prominent NCP politician, told reporters before the march that Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has humiliated Maharashtra by claiming some sections of the state while the Shinde administration has decided not to respond.
In response to the MVA march, the BJP is organising “Maafi Mango” demonstrations in all six parliamentary seats in Mumbai, accusing Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut of inciting a dispute about Dr B R Ambedkar’s birthplace and party leader Sushma Andhare of disrespecting Hindu deities and saints.
The BJP has requested that MVA leaders, including Uddhav Thackeray, apologise.
“People’s wrath against the government would be conveyed through the protest march,” said State Congress President Nana Patole, “which is why the BJP is indulging in gimmicks to deflect attention.”
The Shiv Sena’s Thackeray-led side is involved in a court struggle over the party’s poll emblem, the bow and arrow.