“It is purely a socio-cultural event which has no political overtones. With due respect to all parties and politicians in Maharashtra, I would like to say that no political message is intended to be given through the event,” former Bihar minister and convenor for the event Devesh Chandra Thakur told reporters.
Asked for his comment on MNS's reported opposition to his visit to the metropolis, Kumar had said in Patna on Monday that there was no ban on the visit and he could go anywhere. “I don't need a visa to go to Mumbai,” he was reported to have said.
Though nobody from MNS has formally announced the party's opposition to Kumar's visit to celebrate the centenary year of Bihar's creation, recent media reports said the party will not allow the celebration on April 15.
“Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra. If anybody tries to show Maharashtra's culture and Marathi language in a bad light, it will not be tolerated,” a top MNS leader had said on condition of anonymity, adding Raj Thackeray would make clear the party's stand on the issue.
Thakur, who has had his education in Maharashtra, said he personally had great respect for the Thackeray family. “I have great regard for the Thackeray family for their nationalist views. What they have at heart, they also have on their tongue,” he said.
Claiming that the event was “apolitical”, Thakur said it was evident as Kumar was visiting the state as chief minister of Bihar and not as a leader his party JD(U). “No politician or minister from Bihar is accompanying him.
There is a JD(U)-BJP coalition government in Bihar and BJP is in alliance with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. We could have roped in BJP for the Bihar Divas celebrations here, but we have not done that,” Thakur, a JD(U) MLC, said, adding “nobody should have any misgivings about the event.”
Referring to opposition by some political parties to migrant labourers from Hindi heartland coming to Mumbai to earn a living and becoming a “drain” on the city's resources, Thakur said things were changing fast in Bihar and people would soon not require to migrate to big cities for work.
“In a way, Nitish Kumar is doing what these parties want. He is creating job opportunities in Bihar and time is not far when people will not need to migrate to Mumbai and other big cities to earn a living,” he said.
Quoting Central government figures, Thakur said there has been a 26 per cent drop in migrant labour outflow from the state.
“ Now the traders and industrialists in Punjab are luring Bihari labourers with freebies like mobile phones and extra talktime to work for them.”
Thakur said several organisations of Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs the leaders of whose faiths like Lord Buddha, Mahavira and Guru Gobind Singh had association with Bihar, would felicitate Kumar at the function.
Kumar will also honour singers Udit Narayan and Manoj Tiwari, besides Biharis from other walks of life including social service, public administration and health who have done the state proud.
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