The BJP and Shiv Sena have turned to Bollywood classic Sholay to fan the flames of rivalry. Right after BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari ridiculed Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray by comparing him with Sholay’s dotty jailor, the Sena said BJP president Amit Shah was Gabbar Singh, and will meet his definite end.
Cautioning the BJP against poking fun at Uddhav, Sena leaders also drew comparisons with several other Bollywood characters and actors to get even with its friend-turned foe.
BJP-Sena ki 'Aag'
What has incensed the Sena is Bhandari’s attempt to compare Uddhav to Sholay’s jailor (played by Asrani), a character that provides comic relief with shades of buffoonery. In an article published in the BJP’s mouthpiece ‘Manogat’, Bhandari asked when the Sena would seek a formal divorce from his party. Bhandari’s Asrani jibe prompted Sena corporator Kishori Pednekar to compare Shah with Gabbar. “Shah is running his party like Gabbar, and you know what happens to Gabbar at the end of the movie,” she said on Friday.
Pednekar did not spare Bhandari either. She said the BJP spokesperson was like a ‘lunatic’ character played by Rajpal Yadav in ‘Hulchal’. “In that movie, Rajpal loses his sanity very frequently. He gets mental attacks. It seems Bhandari is behaving exactly like this mad character,” the corporator said.
The two parties have been trading insults with each other for a long time. So far, it was usually the BJP at the receiving end. While the Sena used strong words against PM Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and CM Devendra Fadnavis, the BJP would either ignore the caustic remarks or simply ask the Sena to mind its own business. This time, the BJP too has responded.
A fortnight ago, the two parties were engaged in social media exchanges in which similes of animals like lions, tigers, frogs and snakes were used to settle scores with each other. In addition to this, the names of sultans and emperors who were known for their tyrant and dictatorial ways were used freely to describe some BJP leaders.
But after the Sholay taunt, the Sena has cautioned its ruling partner against stooping to low levels in attacking Uddhav.
Buzz off: Raut to BJP
Sena’s MP and executive editor of the party mouthpiece Saamna, Sanjay Raut, who has slammed the BJP leadership time and again in his articles, also found himself targeted by Bhandari.
An angry Raut said the BJP may well find solace in its tacit friendship with the NCP and rule the government.
“Some people in the BJP are making frivolous statements. The CM (Fadnavis) must clarify if Bhandari’s views are official because such views cannot be taken as his (spokesperson’s) personal opinion,” he said.
“Policies (of the Sena) can be criticised, but when persons (in the BJP) criticise the Sena chief they can definitely be called morons. Perhaps such people want their government and the state of Maharashtra to face trouble. The Shiv Sena has taken this issue very seriously,” he said.
Raut has asked the BJP to keep in mind that the government was running on Sena’s support. “You are free to run your government with the support of Chhagan Bhujbal, Sunil Tatkare and Ajit Pawar,” he said.
After all was said and done, Bhandari said that his party has decided to not speak on the issue. However, a senior BJP leader told mid-day that his party would not ignore the Sena’s shenanigans anymore. “The Sena has crossed all limits of civility. Our message to them is loud and clear. If they ask us to buzz off then we too tell them to go their way,” said the leader.
Senior leaders in both parties felt that the skirmish would go on unabated. “Both the BJP workers or the Sena workers want to go solo in future elections. The workers want some energy and these fights keep them in good spirits,” said a BJP leader.
BJP MP Kirit Somaiya dragged in too
If this wasn’t enough, Sena’s Aurangabad MP Chandrakant Khaire even dragged BJP MP Kirit Somaiya into the controversy and asked whether anyone remembered his party ever referring to Somaiya as ‘Shakti Kapoor’.