The ongoing tussle between Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray and Maratha organization Shambhaji Brigade, after the former’s recent comments on caste politics in Maharashtra, is intensifying. The Sambhaji Brigade office bearers, on Tuesday, sent books of celebrated Marathi writer and social reformer Prabodhankar Thackeray to his grandson Raj Thackeray through a postal parcel.
The development comes days after Raj alleged that caste politics increased in the state after the birth of Nationalist Congress Party. Responding to the allegations, NCP chief Sharad Pawar recently advised Raj to read the writings of his grandfather Prabodhankar Thackeray, a prolific author and Indian social reformer.
The dispute between Sambhaji Brigade and MNS Chief has been growing after Raj Thackeray targeted the NCP during a recent TV program. Raj alleged that the issue of caste identity became big in Maharashtra only after the formation of NCP.
Raj Thackeray’s comment on celebrated Marathi author Shiv Shahir Babasaheb Purandare is behind the latest development in the ongoing tussle. On August 14, during an event to felicitate the author, Raj said Purandare presented history in “very simple and lovable style.” Reacting to this, Sambhaji Brigade State President Praveen Gaikwad said that Raj has no understanding of history beyond Purandare.
“Raj has no understanding of the political, social, and cultural struggles of Maharashtra. He has failed miserably in politics, is now trying to create division among people of Maharashtra for his own political gain,” Gaikwad said.
Advocate Manoj Akhre, leader of the Sambhaji Brigade, has also openly challenged Raj for a debate in Mumbai. “If Raj Thackeray has any courage, he should bring his own historians and researchers for a public debate. We will bring our historians and researchers from the Bahujan Samaj. There will be a debate with references and evidence,” Akhre said.
“Everyone knows that you have the history of riots as you are the inheritor of the thoughts of poets like Babasaheb Purandare who wrote the history in such a way that it spread riots. You are the only heir of Prabodhankar Thackeray’s blood, but we are the heirs of Prabodhankar Thackeray’s truth-seeking thoughts,” he added.
Earlier in 2019, Sambhaji Brigade had objected to the Centre’s announcement to honour right-wing history scholar Babasaheb Purandare with the Padma Vibhushan.