The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Thursday criticised Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nilesh Rane for his tweet calling Sharad Pawar a “reincarnation of Aurangzeb” and said it would hold a protest against the former Lok Sabha member’s statement shared with “malicious intent”. NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said that Rane must delete the tweet in 24 hours, and sought clarification from senior party functionaries on whether they agree with his statement.
The political controversy erupted following the Kolhapur violence in Maharashtra on Wednesday, in which a rally by Hindu organisations at Shivaji Chowk to protest some social media posts allegedly glorifying Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan turned sour. Following the conclusion of the rally , some miscreants started pelting stones at homes and business establishments owned by the Muslim community, turning the protests violent.
Rane’s tweet still online
Rane’s controversial remarks were in response to a media report about Pawar expressing concern for the minority communities such as Muslims and Christians in Maharashtra. “Pawar Saheb gets worried for the Muslim community as the election approaches. Sometimes it seems that Sharad Pawar is the reincarnation of Aurangzeb,” he tweeted. Though NCP has called for Rane to delete the tweet, the BJP leader has not budged from his stance so far as the tweet can still be seen on his profile.
NCP to hold protest
Tapase said that the NCP would protest with a “jail bharo andolan” at MRA Marg police station in south Mumbai at 11 am on Friday against Rane’s tweet. Meanwhile, another party leader Clyde Crasto sought action from Twitter over the “malicious” tweet defaming Pawar. “FYI @TwitterIndia, You are aware there is prevailing tension in Kolhapur city, Maharashtra due to the name ‘Aurangzeb’. The handle @meNeeleshNRane is using the same name against Padma Vibhushan Mr Sharad Pawar, MP -Rajya Sabha. This tweet has malicious intent, please take action,” Crasto tweeted.
Dozens arrested for violence
As many as 36 people have been arrested so far and three juveniles were detained in connection with Wednesday’s violence. Kolhapur superintendent of police (SP) Mahendra Pandit said CCTV footage was being scanned to identify the perpetrators and indicated that they were locals.
A total of four criminal cases have been registered in the matter so far. About 400 people had been booked in the three first information reports (FIR) registered for the violence. The fourth case has been registered over the alleged WhatsApp status “glorifying” Tipu Sultan and Aurangzeb which triggered the violence and five juveniles have been detained in this context, Pandit added.