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Maharashtra: Political parties gear up for a grand golden jubilee day

By N Ganesh
April 29, 2010 02:41 IST
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The souls of 105 martyrs who had laid down their lives for the linguistic state of Maharashtra under the banner of Samyukta Maharashtra Movement would truly be moved this May 1, as all roads lead to their memorial at Hutatma Chowk, Flora Fountain in Mumbai.

May 1, which is observed as the International Labour Day all over the world, is the foundation day of the state of Maharashtra, and 2010 being its 50th anniversary, all major political parties have lined up special activities to celebrate the grand occasion.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, the regional party which is the self-claimed custodian of the Marathi pride, has asked all his followers to lit the sky with fireworks at the stroke of midnight.

Rival Shiv Sena came up with a strategy that would overshadow MNS' display of fire power. Shiv Sena executive President Uddhav Thackeray, in a sombre tone, said that foundation of the state was laid at the cost of the blood shed by the martyrs, and hence it would not be appropriate to celebrate.

"A tribute will be paid to the 105 martyrs who shed their blood for the sake of a unified state by giving our blood," said Thackeray.  True to his word, Thackeray oversaw a massive blood donation campaign on April 25, a Guinness Book record feat. 

Both the MNS and Shiv Sena have organised cultural events in Mumbai, however Sena's musical evening at Shivaji Park could boast of legendary Lata Mangeshkar. The melody queen would be rendering a song based on the foundation of the state.

Like the MNS, the Nationalist Congress Party would commence Maharashtra Day celebrations at the stroke of midnight. One thousand party activists led by party leaders would take out a rally from the Gateway of India to Hutatma Chowk at Flora Fountain at midnight at pay their respects to the martyrs. Later in the day, the party has organised programme at August Kranti Maidan to 'honour' the family of martyrs.

NCP's political ally Congress would be hoisting the national flags at the party office at the district and blocks all over the state. Besides Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre would also be among those who would go to Hutatma Chowk to pay their respects.

The Bharatiya Janata Party will be launching the Maharashtra Day anniversary celebration plan for the remainder of the year. As a part of anniversary celebrations, BJP would also make some academic pursuits such as evaluation of state's progress in various field in the last 50 years and compare it with the 20-20 vision of the United Nations Development Programme.

Besides the programmes and events organised by BJP elected representatives at the local level, an entertainment event has been organised at Pune.

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N Ganesh in Mumbai