The Maharashtra Congress on Friday asked the BJP leaders in the state to clarify their stand on the warning given by a BJP parliamentarian from Uttar Pradesh that MNS chief Raj Thackeray will not be allowed set foot in Ayodhya unless he apologises for "humiliating" north Indians in the past.
The Congress, which shares power with the Shiv Sena and the NCP in Maharashtra, also accused the opposition party of using Raj Thackeray, independent MP Navneet Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana, who were arrested in connection with a row over Hanuman Chalisa, as its "puppets".
The BJP has earlier supported Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray's demand to remove loudspeakers from mosques.
Thackeray has announced that he would visit Ayodhya on June 5.
Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, BJP's MP from Kaiserganj Lok Sabha constituency and one of the leaders of the Ram temple movement, had said in a tweet on Thursday, "Will not allow Raj Thackeray, who humiliates north Indians, enter the Ayodhya border. Before coming to Ayodhya, Raj Thackeray should apologise to all North Indians with folded hands."
Addressing a press conference, Maharashtra Congress's chief spokesman Atul Londhe said the state BJP leaders supported Raj Thackeray on the loudspeaker issue and the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh is busy laying out red carpet to him for his visit to Ayodhya.
"But BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has taken a stand that Raj Thackeray will not be allowed to set foot in Ayodhya unless he publicly apologises for his anti-North Indians stance. Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil should clarify their stand on the the UP parliamentarian's comments," he said.
Raj Thackeray has played the politics of targeting north Indians. His party workers beats up north Indian candidates, who come for the railway exams. Besides them, poor north Indian hawkers, panipuri sellers as well as and fruits and vegetable vendors were also targeted, he added.
As soon as Raj Thackeray took the Hindutva stand and raised issues like Hanuman Chalisa, loudspeakers at mosques, 'maha aarati', the Maharashtra BJP supported him, he said. "But do the same BJP leaders accept Raj Thackeray's politics against north Indians?" he asked.
"BJP MP Brij Bhushan has demanded an apology from Raj Thackeray. What is the stand of the BJP leaders like Devendra Fadnavis and Chandrakant Patil on that. All these issues should be clarified by them publicly. Mumbai is the financial capital of the country and everyone has a constitutional right to earn a living in this city. The Congress party and its government has always protected this right," he said.
"The BJP, which plays politics in the name of Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman for the sake of votes, has always pitted one community against the other. The party has worked to create instability in the state by using Ravi Rana, Navneet Rana and Raj Thackeray as puppets," he alleged.
Londhe said the BJP, which is capable of doing anything for votes, should clarify its stand on Raj Thackeray's new pro-Hindutva stance and the remarks made by the party's MP.