Mumbai: The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Tuesday urged its members to remain calm and not allow mischief-mongers to spoil the party's image after the Enforcement Directorate summoned party President Raj Thackeray.
Senior MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar issued the appeal after Thackeray held an emergency party meeting to discuss the matter as tempers were rising among its members.
"Raj Thackeray has become very popular among the masses all over India after he raised issues like Electronic Voting Machines. There is a huge concern among the people after he has been served the ED notice to appear on August 22," Nandgaonkar said. He asked the MNS activists to come to the ED office on Thursday in an orderly and peaceful manner.
"It is possible that some miscreants from the ruling party deliberately try to create disturbance and defame the MNS. Our activists must remain vigilant about this," Nandgaonkar said.
He said if common people want to go to the ED to express solidarity with Thackeray, the MNS workers should not prevent them from doing so. There has been a flutter in political circles and the MNS after the ED on Sunday slapped notices on Thackeray, his former partner Unmesh Joshi -- son of ruling ally Shiv Sena's ex-Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi -- and their third business associate.
While Joshi was grilled by the ED for over eight hours on Monday, followed by a second round today, Thackeray has been asked to report to the ED office on Thursday, in a money laundering case pertaining to the beleagured IL&FS.
The entire Maharashtra Opposition has strongly criticised the ED move terming it as a "vendetta" and "witch-hunt" after Thackeray's strong attacks on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena. Contrary to earlier speculation, the MNS will not organise any shutdown or agitations to oppose the ED move.