Raj Thackeray backs Dhoble, warns hawkers over holding morcha

Backing Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Vasant Dhoble MNS chief Raj Thackeray on Tuesday warned hawkers against holding a rally at Azad Maidan on January 24.

Updated: Jan 15, 2013, 19:55 PM IST

Mumbai: Backing Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Vasant Dhoble, who was shunted out from his Vakola posting amid protests over the death of a hawker during eviction drive, MNS chief Raj Thackeray on Tuesday warned hawkers against holding a rally at Azad Maidan on January 24.

"If hawkers take out a morcha at Azad Maidan and try to show their power, MNS will show its power on Mumbai`s footpaths," Raj told reporters here this evening.

"Marathi people have the first right on this city," he said.

Opposing Dhoble`s transfer, Raj said it would demoralise the police force. "Who will dare act when there is the fear of transfer," he asked.

"Which policemen would come forward to act against "outsiders" and hawkers," Raj said.

"Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar says he may not agree with chief minister on Dhoble`s transfer but goes on to add that it is Chavan`s prerogative. Why didn`t Pawar object when the white paper on irrigation was being prepared," Raj said.

On the hawkers`s menace, Raj said, "People are inconvenienced. Entire cities are in a disarray. I appeal to people to stop buying things from these hawkers. If that happens, they will automatically cease to exist."

"There is a conspiracy to bring people, hawkers from outside the state and increase the voting percentage," Raj said. "If two lakh hawkers come to Mumbai from outside, where are you going to make them sit," he added.

Raj accused Congress leader Kripashankar Singh of advocating cause of illegal hawkers.

"I am speaking on behalf of police and municipal officers," Raj said.

Illegal taxis and autorickshaws continue to ply in Mumbai, the MNS leader said.

"I tried many times to convince the government but it does not want to act," he said.

Meanwhile, Raj announced that he would be undertaking a statewide tour from February 10, during which he would hold meetings and address public rallies.

On senior BJP leaders, including party president Nitin Gadkari and Sushma Swaraj, visiting the family of martyr Hemraj Singh in Shernagar, Raj said, "who started the Samjhauta Express? Did anyone ask for it? You (BJP) start buses and when such a thing (beheading of the Indian soldier) happens, you go and condole the family."

"There is no need to have any ties with Pakistanis. If they cut heads of our soldiers, what is the point in keeping relations with them," Raj said.