Mumbai, Jan 4 (IANS) Amid a fresh political cloud over Vinayak Damodar ‘Veer’ Savarkar, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Aditya Thackeray has opted out of a national students’ conference to discuss and oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act, scheduled here on Sunday, according to sources.
Thackeray Jr., who had earlier consented to remain present along with other ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies, decided to skip the event organised by Chhatra Bharati, at the last minute on Saturday.
The ostensible reason for his move is reportedly the latest controversy which erupted on Friday after some unsavoury comments were published in an All India Congress Seva Dal booklet, distributed during its ongoing 10-day camp in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Other prominent speakers will be renowned poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar, JNU students union leader Umar Khalid, Aligarh Muslim University Students Union President Salman Imtiaz, Jamia Milia University student leader Hammadur Rehman, TISSSU chief Bhatta Ram, student leaders Sadiya Shaikh and Richa Singh.
From the ruling MVA, Cabinet Minister Varsha Gaikwad, Nationalist Congress Party MLA Rohit Pawar (who’s grand-nephew of party chief Sharad Pawar), ruling ally and Lok Bharati chief Kapil Patil will also address the gathering.
Political circles say that besides the Veer Savarkar episode, the belligerent Opposition led by Bharatiya Janata Party would attempt to politically exploit Thackeray Jr.’s presence at a conference that will be addressed by Umar Khalid – who has been slapped with sedition charges for raising allegedly anti-national slogans in the JNU campus in February 2016.
The conference has been organised by the Chhatra Bharati Students Organisation along with a Joint Action Committee comprising several prominent students and leftist organisations from all over India.
These include: AISF, SFI, ASA, TISS Students Unions, Samyak, MASU, SIO, CYSS, PSU, Republican Panther, AIPC, AYW, Vidyarthi Bharati and Mumbai Graduates Forum, said Chhatra Bharati Mumbai President Sachin M. Bansode.
“We spoke with Aditya-ji today and tried to convince him to enlighten the gathering with his views. However, owing to certain circumstances, he expressed inability to join the conference tomorrow,” Bansode told IANS.
He added that the students around the country have welcomed Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s recent assurances on ensuring that the CAA and other laws would not be allowed to affect any Muslims in Maharashtra.
“It was against this backdrop and the government’s commitment that no ‘detention camps’ will be permitted in the state that students from all over the country were keen to listen to Aditya-ji’s views,” Bansode said.
The half-day long conclave shall be held at the Y. B. Chavan Centre in Nariman Point tomorrow.