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Mumbai is preparing for a day of protests with the MVA’s “Halla Bol” protest against Eknath Shinde’s government and a counter-protest by the ruling ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Both marches are set to take place today in the city.

Over 2,500 police personnel have been deployed on the streets to ensure that no troublesome incident takes place in the city, officials said.

Adequate number of police personnel has been deployed on the route of the march to maintain law and order, an official said.

As many as 317 police officers, 1,870 constables, 22 platoons of State Reserve Police Force and at least 30 squads of Riot Control Police will be on hand to maintain law and order, he said.

According to the leaders of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, one of the reasons for the MVA protest is the “insults” of the state’s icons like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule. The other reasons for the protest include, “atrocities” against Marathi-speakers in border areas of Karnataka, industrial projects being taken out of the state and “injustice” meted out to Maharashtra.

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar is likely to join MVA’s ‘Halla Bol’ Morcha today. He will then address a rally at the concluding point of the protest.

“The protest will showcase people’s anger against the government of the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction and BJP,” State Congress president Nana Patole said.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi’s (MVA) ‘Halla Bol’ protest will start near J J Hospital and will end at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in south Mumbai.

The MVA protest is being seen as an attempt to rally the allies after the Uddhav Thackeray-led alliance government was toppled in June this year.

BJP’s Mumbai unit chief Ashish Shelar on Friday announced that his party would also organise its own ‘Maafi Mango’ protest in Mumbai on Saturday demanding an apology from the MVA for “insulting” Dr B R Ambedkar and Hindu deities.

Ashish Shelar had said that “Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut had tried to create a controversy over Ambedkar’s birthplace, while another leader Sushma Andhare, insulted Lord Ram, Lord Krishna, saint Dynaneshwar and saint Eknath as well as the Warkari community.”

A former state minister, the BJP’s Mumbai unit chief, alleged that Raut made a false statement that Ambedkar was born in Maharashtra, which was an attempt to create controversy over his birthplace.

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