Mumbai:- Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will address a mega rally in Aurangabad on Wednesday where he’s expected to give ‘reply’ to his critics on Shiv Sena’s Hindutva credentials and other major issues, a party official said here on Monday.
Thackeray’s rally comes just a couple of days before the June 10 elections for six Rajya Sabha seats followed by the June 20 polls for 10 seats in the Maharashtra Legislative Council.
In these indirect elections, the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance of Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress is pitted against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with high stakes on both sides.
The CM’s rally also comes a few weeks after his estranged cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray addressed a public meeting in Aurangabad.
Raj Thackeray had recently muddied the state’s political scenario with a shrill campaign demanding a complete ban on ‘azan’ blared over loudspeakers in mosques and threats to counter it with ‘Hanuman Chalisa’.
Aurangabad was in the news last month for visits by top AIMIM leaders — Asaduddin Owaisi and his brother Akbaruddin Owaisi — with the latter creating a huge row by visiting the grave of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Even BJP Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis had addressed a meeting in Aurangabad and had slammed the MVA government on various issues.
The Shiv Sena has been under fire from the MNS and the BJP for not implementing the proposal to rechristen Aurangabad as ‘Sambhajinagar’, though local party strongman Chandrakant Khaire indicated this week that “all formalities for the re-naming have been completed”.
However, no Sena or MVA leaders are willing to speculate whether there could be any concrete development in this regard at Wednesday’s rally.
Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was the son of great Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and was killed at the behest of Emperor Aurangzeb, after whom Aurangabad has been named.
While the Congress is opposed to the renaming move, the NCP has adopted a neutral stance, arguing that it should be as per the wishes of the local populace. The AIMIM is vehemently against the proposal.
Thackeray’s rally will also be politically significant for more reasons as Aurangabad is among the dozen-odd major civic bodies in the state which will go to the polls next month onwards along with Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur etc.