As the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena claimed victory following the compromise struck with the makers of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, the Opposition attacked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the BJP for “brokering a deal”.
The Congress called the meeting between MNS chief Raj Thackeray and filmmaker Karan Johar at the Chief Minister’s official residence on Saturday morning as “unconstitutional”. The NCP said that the “settlement struck with the help of the CM” was an insult to the Army soldiers killed in the Uri attack.
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“The Chief Minister is responsible for maintaining law and order in the state. But he has shown that he is incapable of observing law and order by bowing to the whims of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. In fact, he has set a bad example by making others submit to them too,” said Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant.
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The Congress said the issue of banning the entry of Pakistani actors and artistes in the country was a subject of the central government. “It does not fall within the ambit of the state government. The state’s responsibility is limited to providing law and order,” Sawant said. “The Chief Minister was not only a witness to an unconstitutional meeting, but he promoted it further,” he said.
The Congress reminded Fadnavis that former Congress minister Ashok Chavan hadn’t given in to the Shiv Sena, which had similarly threatened to block the Shahrukh Khan starrer My Name is Khan in 2010.
NCP national spokesperson and former Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik too hit out at the Chief Minister, and suggested that there was “tacit understanding” between the BJP and MNS.
“The MNS target even for Lok Sabha polls (in 2014) was to hand BJP a victory at the cost of the Shiv Sena in the state,” Malik said, indicating that Saturday’s meeting had a bigger political script to it.
In a veiled dig at the Shiv Sena ahead of the crucial Mumbai municipality polls, Malik said, “The BJP controls MNS’s engine (the MNS party symbol is an engine). It fuels it when required, and then applies brakes to it when necessary.” In the previous two civic polls held in 2007 and 2012 in Mumbai, the MNS had significantly dented the Shiv Sena votebank.
Both the Congress and the NCP said the MNS had a history of going back on issues it rakes up. “They (MNS) never take the matter to a logical conclusion. After raking up an issue for electoral gains, they either leave it midway or settle for a compromise.”
Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi too criticised the MNS over its repeated flip-flops.