February 8, 2008
h/l: Maharashtra issue is local affair, says Pranab
From: Vrushali Lad
Mumbai: With the arrest of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray looming large on the horizon, the political situation in the state and particularly Mumbai city is heating up by the moment. But Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee thinks that the continuing fracas in the state is a 'local affair'.
When questioned yesterday by media persons in Mumbai, where Mukherjee was present at the Bajaj Bhavan to inaugurate the paintings of artist Subrata Ghosh, the minister completely dismissed the seething turmoil in Maharashtra as a minor skirmish. "It is a local affair and the local people are handling it. I don't even want to comment on it," he said.
This comment comes at a time when state CM Vilasrao Deshmukh flew to Delhi on Thursday to brief UPA chairperson and Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi on the developments in Mumbai in connection with the anti-North Indian statements and the ensuing controversy that Thackeray started off in the country. Yesterday, the plea to deregister the MNS also entered the portals of the Bombay HC, a day after a similar petition was filed in the Supreme Court.
The state government has also sought legal advice on arresting Thackeray; meanwhile railway minister Lalu Prasad has also brought the matter into the national spotlight by raising the issue with the PM. There have been nationwide protests against Thackeray and MNS ever since this controversy began last week.