Mumbai: The BJP-Shiv Sena ties hit a new low on Friday after both sides invoked the names of known Bollywood characters, villains and comedians to publicly abuse each other.
Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut asked Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to clarify if BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari’s comparison of Sena President Uddhav Thackeray with the jailer of the 1970s blockbuster “Sholay” was his (Bhandari’s) personal opinion or not.
“Some people in the BJP are talking as if they own the state government… It is clear they want this government to collapse. If the BJP does not want to continue alliance with Shiv Sena, they are free to take support of the NCP and its leaders like Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal or Sunil Tatkare,” Raut said.
He was responding to an article penned by Bhandari in a BJP mouthpiece “Manogat” in which he criticized Thackeray and likened him to the character of the ‘British era jailer’ essayed by comedian Asrani.
Bhandari asked Raut when he would “divorce” what the Sena had earlier this month termed was the “father of the Nizam’s government”.
Adding to the political-Bollywood cocktail, Kishori Pednekar, a Sena municipal corporator in Mumbai, said if Thackeray was the jailer of “Sholay”, then the character of the dreaded villain Gabbar Singh, played by the late actor Amjad Khan, aptly suited BJP President Amit Shah.
“In the end, the BJP’s Gabbar would meet the same fate which befell the dacoit Gabbar Singh in ‘Sholay’,” Pednekar said without mincing words.
She likened Bhandari to the comic character portrayed by Rajpal Yadav in the Priyadarshan directored “Hulchul”.
Sena LS MP Chandrakant Khaire said Bhandari had no locus standi to comment on Thackeray and warned that if he continued, it would be difficult to control the Shiv Sainiks’ ire.
The party mouthpiece “Saamana” on Friday warned Bhandari to remain within limits, especially since “we have never compared Kirit Somaiya with Shakti Kapoor”.
Last year, Shiv Sena’s Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar triggered an outcry when she compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s style of functioning to Adolf Hitler.