Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray has claimed the central government is planning to stage riots on Ram temple issue with the help of Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen.
Making the sensational allegation at a party rally in Mumbai on Monday night, Thackeray said, "The central government may try to instigate riots with AIMIM over Ram Temple issue."
"I got a call from Delhi informing me that the central government is planning riots in the name of Ram Temple and is seeking help from Asaduddin Owaisi, chief of AIMIM," he said.
"I think it is very serious. The Union government has no substantial work to show in its four-and-a-half-year long rule. They do not have any option but to instigate communal riots," the MNS chief said.
Thackeray said, "Though I support construction of the Ram temple (at Ayodhya), I am not insisting that it should be built before the general elections due next year. I have no issues if the temple is built after the elections."
Thackeray did not disclose the name of the caller from Delhi. Responding to Thackeray's statement, AIMIM MLA from Mumbai, Waris Pathan, asked police to initiate action against the MNS chief.
"The Mumbai police should take Thackeray into custody. If he has such crucial information, then he should share the details with the police," he said.
Pathan accused Thackeray of creating panic among people and threatening them from a public platform. Police should take appropriate steps against the MNS chief, he said.
"It looks like Thackeray wants to regain lost ground and is using Owaisi's name for it," Pathan said.
Shiv Sena also taunted the MNS chief over his riot claims.
"There won't be any riots over Ram mandir. If someone has information (that riots are being planned), he should inform police," Sena leader Sanjay Raut said. -- PTI