Mumbai: Shiv Sena’s executive president Uddhav Thackeray has called for a Mumbai bandh on August 1 if the mill worker issue is not resolved by then. However, his estranged cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Senja (MNS) party leader, Raj Thackeray is opposed to the idea.
“The issue should be sorted out in Vidhan Bhavan. Mumbaikars will face problems because of the bandh,” said Raj.
Earlier in the day, the estranged cousins and bitter political rivals took to the streets in Mumbai to show support for the mill workers’ cause demanding free housing. However, Raj’s support can be seen as ironic, given he clinched one of the biggest mill land sale deals in the city, making a huge profit.
Uddhav walked with his Shiv Sena contingent, while Raj led the MNS supporters from Byculla to Azad Maidan.
“If the Government does not listen, then this has to be done,” said Uddhav.
This was the first time since he quit the Shiv Sena six years ago that Raj Thackeray was on the same side as his cousin, Uddhav. “Let’s not politicise this please. I’m here only to support the cause of mill workers,” he said.
Symbolism it may be, but mill workers, tired of running from pillar to post for decades for the free housing they were promised for being displaced have found hope, with the new generation Thackerays taking up a cause the Shiv Sena founder had built the party on.
“It’s not about politics, these two Marathi leaders have come together for the cause of the mill workers,” said a protesting mill worker.
“We are happy that they are together on this. We are confident this will help us get our homes,” said another.
Raj, however, did not share the dais with Uddhav at Azad Maidan and left without addressing the public.
Last week, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had assured mill workers that their concerns on housing and jobs for family members would be looked into NDTV