MUMBAI: Attack on Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Sushant Malwade in Malad on Saturday has exposed cracks within Mumbai Congress. While the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) President Sanjay Nirupam voiced his support for the vendors, Congress MLA Nitesh Rane has dared Nirupam that "attack on Marathi Manoos won’t be tolerated".
“A hawkers beating up a Marathi Manoos won’t be tolerated,” Rane said in a tweet after Malawade was attacked by a group of hawkers outside Mumbai’s Malad station while conduction an ant-hawker drive across the city.
In another tweet, he questioned the integrity of the party.
“Does the Mumbai Congress just wants to be known as a party for North Indians or it also wants Marathi people to vote for it… doesn’t look like that!,” said Rane’s tweeted, targeting MRCC president Sanjay Nirupam for making Congress the party of North Indians.
Nirupam, in a rally of hawkers at Malad earlier this week, had blamed the state government, the Bombay Municipal Corporation and the MNS for the actions against the hawkers outside the railway stations.
“I appeal the police to stop the MNS goons if they are harassing the hawkers. Because, if they (the hawkers) won’t get the protection from the police, they would take the law into their hands and hit the streets adding to the law and orders issues in the city,” Nirupam had said while addressing the hawkers at the rally.
The MNS worker was attacked by hawkers a couple of days after the rally.
Nirupam’s outburst was the reaction of the MNS sanction against hawkers in Thane, Kalyan, Dombiwali and several other places. Nirupam argued that the MNS workers were targeting the North Indian hawkers, while the MNS said that its workers are just acting on the request they had made to the railway officials earlier this month while protesting the stampede deaths at Elphinstone road railway station.
The MNS had given a deadline of 15 days to the railway administration to do away with the hawkers from around the railway stations.
Meanwhile, the police have initiated action against Nirupam as well as the MNS workers. The action against Nirupam is said to be under sections pertaining to illegal assembly and conducting rally without permission, while a case has been filed against several MNS workers for vandalism.
Raj Thackeray had defended his party workers saying that they would stand up against anything where injustice is being done. He also appealed the civic administration to deal with the menace of hawkers firmly along with the railway administration.
“The political leaders are trying to prove their existence and the police will act judiciously whenever there is a law and order issue,” said Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.