Shobhaa De in trouble for 'hurting Marathi sentiments'

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Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik moved a breach of privilege motion in the Assembly, seeking an apology for her strong reaction on Twitter against the state’s decision to get multiplexes to reserve prime time slots for Marathi films

Writer Shobhaa De finds herself in trouble over remarks she made against the state government’s decision mandating multiplexes to screen Marathi films in prime time slots. An MLA from Thane moved a breach of privilege motion against De in the legislature, demanding an apology from her for “hurting Marathi sentiments.”

Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik moved the breach of privilege motion yesterday, accusing Shobhaa De of insulting the legislature and the Marathi language, and hurting sentiments of the Marathi people. File pics
Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik moved the breach of privilege motion yesterday, accusing Shobhaa De of insulting the legislature and the Marathi language, and hurting sentiments of the Marathi people. File pics

Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, from Owala-Majiwada segment in Thane, moved the motion yesterday, accusing De of insulting the legislature and the Marathi language, and hurting sentiments of the Marathi people. Sarnaik has sought an apology from De.

Joining the anti-De chorus in the Assembly was his party and ally BJP. A breach of privilege motion is used by an MP or MLA to punish a person, who they feel, have committed a contemptuous act against the Parliament or legislature.

Controversial decision
mid-day had reported yesterday on the decision which Cultural Affairs Minister Vinod Tawde announced on Tuesday. While the Marathi film industry had welcome the move, filmmakers and producers from Bollywood had slammed the government for dictating terms.

Taking umbrage to De’s Tweets (see box), Ashish Shelar, city BJP president, said, “The Marathi film industry has always had a weak lobby and the government is doing its bit to change this situation. It is sad that it has to face jokes from De.” Shelar accused De of doing this as a publicity gimmick and said her comments were unbecoming of a public figure.

De reacted on Twitter to Sarnaik’s motion, saying, “Now a privilege motion demanding an apology from me? Come on! I am a proud Maharashtrian and love Marathi films. Always have. Alwaays will!” When mid-day contacted her last evening for her comments on the privilege motion, De said, “I am not really commenting on the issue,” and also added, “Perhaps tomorrow. Let’s see how it goes.”

Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde has reserved his decision on the motion. Should he choose to allow it, the privilege committee will take over the matter and send a notice to De. It will then conduct hearings, taking statements from both parties in the matter and, if it sees fit, hand out a punishment to the author (see box).

Did you know?
A privilege motion is a motion in parliamentary procedure that is granted precedence over ordinary business because of its importance or urgency.

‘Offending’ tweets
>> No more popcorn at multiplexes in Mumbai? Dahi misal and vada pav only. To go better with the Marathi movies at prime time

>> Devendra ‘Diktatwala’ Fadnavis is at it again!!!From beef to movies. This is not the Maharashtra we all love! Nako!Nako! Yeh sab roko!

>> I love Marathi movies. Let me decide when and where to watch them, Devendra Fadnavis. This is nothing but Dadagiri

mid-day’s April 8 report
mid-day’s April 8 report

Previous breach of privilege
In 2006, Manjit Singh, the president of the Maharashtra Bar Owners’ Association, was sentenced to 90 days’ imprisonment by the state Assembly. Singh had allegedly said, after the state banned dance bars, that the bar girls who would be rendered jobless would protest outside ministers’ houses and “make it difficult for the ministers’ wives to move out freely.” Sudhir Mungantiwar, now finance minister, had moved the privilege motion then.

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