NCP blinks on 'threat' to stall Raj Thackeray's Pune visit
Pune: NCP, a coalition partner in Maharashtra government, on Sunday withdrew its 'threat' to ban Raj Thackeray from entering Pune, ending speculation over a likely showdown between two parties in the wake of MNS chief's diatribe against NCP leader and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.
NCP MP and city unit president Vandana Chavan said that this decision was taken on a directive from party chief Sharad Pawar.
"Our party believes in Constitution and free movement of every individual. Some of our angry activists had taken a stand to prevent Raj Thackeray from entering Pune following his derogatory comments against our leaders, which were in bad taste. However, in keeping with directives from party president Sharad Pawar it has been decided not to prevent Thackeray from entering Pune," she said.
Raj Thackeray-led MNS and NCP came face to face after NCP activists allegedly hurled stones at Raj's motorcade at Bhingar in Ahmed Nagar district recently.
The incident triggered angry protests from MNS activists who damaged an NCP office in Thane district and also clashed with their opponents at a few places in the state.
"...Some parties are trying to disturb law and order situation in Maharashtra at a time when the state is facing severe drought conditions. NCP workers would observe patience in response to such provocations," Chavan said in a statement.
Earlier, Pawar junior had asked MNS to mend its ways or face consequences after Raj took on Sharad Pawar, his nephew Ajit and NCP, holding them responsible for severe drought in the state.
Local NCP leader and party spokesman Ankush Kakde had announced that party workers would not let Raj enter Pune as a protest against his comments on Ajit Pawar, made at one of the public meetings during his ongoing state wide tour.
In retaliation, Raj dared NCP to prevent him from entering Pune on March 7, his scheduled visit, while addressing a rally in Jalna district yesterday.