Shiv Sena Furious As ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ Row Reaches Matoshree

Mumbai: After Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana announced that they would recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside ‘Matoshree’, the residence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena workers gathered in large numbers outside Rana couple’s residence in Mumbai this morning and shouted slogans.

In Suburban Khar, Shiv Sena workers broke through the barricades and tried to enter the premises of the legislator couple’s residence. The Mumbai Police, however, brought the situation under control and stopped the Shiv Sena workers from going further.

Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana, both independent legislators from Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region, have been accused by the MVA leaders of playing to the tune of the opposition BJP.

A team led by Deputy Commissioner of Police Manjunath Singe visited the residence of couple on Friday and served them a notice, asking them to maintain law and order. 

To avoid crowding and any untoward incident, Mumbai Police have increased security outside ‘Matoshree’ and placed barricades on the road leading to the Thackeray residence. After Shiva Sena workers yesterday turned up outside Rana couple’s residence and dared them to step out of their residence, police personnel were deployed outside the couple’s apartment as well.

The couple, despite the Shiv Sena’s ire and notice by Mumbai Police, remained unfazed and maintained they were firm on their plan. “Maharashtra Chief Minister ordered Shiv Sena workers to heckle us. They’re breaking the barricades. I’m reiterating that I’ll go outside and will chant Hanuman Chalisa at ‘Matroshree’,” alleged Navneet Rana.

Shiv Sena workers, who have opposed the couple’s plan, have been camping outside ‘Matoshree’ since yesterday. Kishori Pednekar, former Mumbai Mayor and Shiv Sena leader, said: “we have accepted the challenge of the Rana couple. Let them come, we are ready to welcome them and give them ‘prasad’.”

The Mumbai-based party has accused the BJP of hatching a conspiracy to harass the Sena-led coalition government in the state and using the Ranas and MNS Chief Raj Thackeray as pawns.

“They were prompted to do this by someone. Shiv Sena workers are here to protect ‘Matoshree’, said Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai.

The Hanuman Chalisa and Ram Navami were matters of faith and not an occasion for some stunt, said Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. 

Describing the Rana couple as ‘Bunty aur Babli’, Mr Raut said: “People like Rana are characters in the nautanki (drama) and stunt of the BJP. People don’t take this stunt seriously.”

Earlier this month, Ravi Rana had demanded that the Chief Minister recite Hanuman Chalisa at home on Hanuman Jayanti.

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