Mumbai, April 13 (IANS) In an abrupt turnaround, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Friday called off its proposed agitation against the April 15 Bihar Day celebrations in Mumbai, scheduled to be addressed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a party official said.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray said these were cultural celebrations and he had nothing against such a programme.
"We are not opposed to any cultural programmes to mark the Bihar Day and it can be held peacefully," party vice-president Vageesh Saraswat told IANS, quoting Thackeray.
The announcement came after Bihar Day organiser Devesh C. Thakur, a member of Bihar Legislative Council and former minister, met Thackeray here.
According to Saraswat, Thakur explained in detail the entire programme and emphasised that it would be a non-political event.
During the meeting, Thakur telephoned Nitish Kumar who spoke to Thackeray over the contentious issue on which the MNS had been agitating for the past fortnight.
"Raj appreciated the efforts made by Nitish Kumar for the progress of Bihar and said he was welcome for the Bihar Day celebrations here on Sunday (April 15)," Saraswat added.
Thackeray gently urged Nitish Kumar to refrain from making any political statements at the rally to be held at Somaiya Grounds in Vidyavihar in north Mumbai, he said.
Nitish Kumar pointed out that it was a purely cultural function without participation of any politicians from Bihar and he was coming here only to "interact with the people of Bihar living in Mumbai".
The MNS had challenged the Bihar chief minister to come and hold the Bihar Day rally in Mumbai and threatened to stage protests, prompting police to step up security.
Nitish Kumar earlier said in Patna that he would visit Mumbai to attend the celebrations.
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