Scores of Shiv Sainiks on Wednesday intensified their stir against Samajwadi Party legislator Abu Asim Azmi by courting arrest outside the Maharashtra legislative assembly.
Sainiks demanded an unconditional apology from the SP legislator for his remarks against Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray.
Azmi had called Thackeray' remarks in his mouthpiece Samana as of an "old man" speaking "like a child".
This is apparently a move by the Sena to upstage its rival in Maharashtra politics, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.
Four MNS legislators were suspended on the first day of the assembly for heckling Azmi when he took the oath if office in Hindi. Azmi seems to have become a 'soft target' for the MNS as well as the Sena in their bid to upstage each other as the sole Messiah of the Marathi manoos.
The police have strengthened bandobast expecting trouble on the last day of the assembly on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Sena legislator Eknath Shinde and Rajan Vichare had gheraoed Azmi's car and had threatened him to mend his ways while talking about Bal Thackeray.
MNS group leader in the Maharashtra assembly Bala Nandgaokar had also threatened Azmi of dire consequences if he spoke ill of the senior Thackeray.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone I, Vishwas Nangre-Patil is supervising the bandobast to prevent any untoward incident. He has been camping outside Vidhan Sabha since the assembly sessions began on Monday.
Image: Shiv Sainiks burn an effigy of SP leader Abu Azmi outside Sena Bhavan on Wednesday | Photograph: Sahil Salvi