A war of words broke out after writer and socialite Shobha De tweeted to the effect that Mumbai be separated from Maharashtra.
Maharashtra and Mumbai??? Why not? Mumbai has always fancied itself as an independent entity anyway. This game has countless possibilities, Shobha De said.
The tweet evoked strong reactions from almost all political parties.
MNS president Raj Thackeray said,Creating a new state is not as easy as getting a divorce and De will understand that.
The issue also resonated in the state legislature,with the government saying it would take note of the matter.
Ashish Shelar of BJP demanded in the Legislative Council that the government take action against De for such a provocative remark.
Shelar raised the matter through a point of order. He said,I am not questioning independent speech. But if a remark against the interest of Mumbai hurts public sentiment,it cannot be overlooked. The government should tell us what it intends to do in the matter. Such remarks are punishable.
However,neither Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan nor Home Minister R R Patil made a statement.
Sources in CMO said,It was an individual reaction. Unless it leads to unrest and creates a law-and-order problem,it is best ignored.
State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said,While we support statehood to Vidarbha,we do not approve separation of Mumbai from Maharashtra. Let us not forget how hard the people of the state fought to keep Mumbai in Maharashtra. We will never allow Mumbai to separate. If required,we will fight.
I think such a statement from a writer who is in public life is insensitive and not expected. It has hurt sentiments of the people of Mumbai and Maharashtra.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre said,There is no question of separating Mumbai. It cannot be justified.
Sena,which has been opposing creation of a Vidarbha state,went a step further,threatening to teach De a lesson.
Party spokesperson Sanjay Raut said: Many people in Maharashtra are overjoyed and are clamouring for a separate Vidarbha and a separate Mumbai. If they cannot respect Maharashtra,we will teach them how to do so.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik also said De hurt sentiments.
Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra and it is not right to speak of separating it from the state, he said.
BJP,meanwhile,demanded De apologise and withdraw her statement. De should not forget 105 people died to keep Mumbai in Maharashtra. I would ask her to withdraw the tweet, senior party leader Vinod Tawde said.
Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe said,Dey does not have understanding of history and the socio-economic relationship between Mumbai,Maharashtra and its people. Her statement is irresponsible and a publicity stunt as she has been sidelined for long. She says it (the remark) was made in a lighter vein,which shows her intellectual bankruptcy.