The co-convenor of the Sene started by Satish Jhaulal Chaturvedi is a senior Bajrang Dal leader from the city, Chandrakant Kumbhare. Chaturvedi, however, denies any saffron links, including in the Sene’s ideology.
A former Maharashtra minister and five-time MLA from East Nagpur, Chaturvedi has been languishing in the political fringes since his loss in the 2009 Assembly polls. In 2010, he was shown purportedly whispering “crores being collected for a Sonia (Gandhi) rally” in the ears of Maharashtra PCC chief Manikrao Thakre in a TV “sting”.
Last month, Chaturvedi was suddenly back in the news locally with a PhD thesis on Mahatma Gandhi. Now follows the Hanuman Sene, with ideology seemingly far removed from what the Mahatma held dear.
Explaining the idea, he said: “Women are being harassed by goons in Nagpur’s slums. So they have to take law into their hands... The police are in nexus with these goons. Organisations like the Bajrang Dal have been doing nothing about it. So we have launched this front. It’s 100 per cent non-political and will take care of these goons.”
According to Chaturvedi, they will “straighten the goons” with Hanuman’s gada (mace). Asked if he had the Congress’s consent, Chaturvedi said: “I needn’t talk to the party about it. It’s a social enterprise. And I am only its chief patron, not office-bearer.”
While denying any Hindutva agenda, he said that the Congress was never averse to it. “Hindutva isn’t a bad thing. Gandhiji’s last words were Hey Ram and he had spoken about Ram Rajya... If we will distance ourselves from Hindutva, we will get alienated from the people... And Hanumanji is god, not a Hindu leader.”