Thackerays come together but keep arm`s distance

Uddhav and Raj, however, walked separately with their supporters in the march, with the former walking in front and Raj in the middle.

Mumbai: Estranged Thackeray cousins, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray participated in a rally by textile mill workers here on Thursday.

However, both the leaders attended the rally separately, which began from Byculla and culminated at Azad Maidan in South Mumbai.

Uddhav warned of a Mumbai bandh on August 1 if the government fails to take a decision on mill workers` demands, including providing free houses to them.

"Getting free houses is the birthright of mill workers," he said at Azad Maidan.

Raj, who joined the morcha shortly after Uddhav, Sena leader Manohar Joshi, RPI leader Ramdas Athawale and BJP leader Vinod Tawde joined it, did not attend the Azad Maidan meeting and returned soon after the rally had reached CST.

The MNS chief later said he was opposed to the Mumbai bandh and there was no need to hold Mumbaikars to ransom.

"The Legislature session is going on and the Opposition as shown strong unity in the House over the issue," he added.

Actor Nana Patekar, who was a prominent participant, hoped that there would not be a need for the Mumbai bandh if the government accepted mill workers demand. "I know that Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is a considerate person and am sure he would consider the just demands of the mill workers," he said.

Several associations of textile industry workers, thousands of whom became jobless after prolonged strikes since early 1980s organised the morcha, which started from Veermata Jeejabai garden at Byculla.

The issue also figured in the ongoing Legislature session with the Assembly being adjourned three times as noisy Opposition members sought a discussion and favourable decision on the matter.


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