Author-columnist Shobhaa De is no stranger to controversy and on Wednesday she set off a political storm with her ‘satirical’ tweet calling for Mumbai to be accorded statehood.
The writer, who seemed to be responding to several political outfits demanding separate states following Telangana being granted statehood, tweeted, "Maharashtra and Mumbai??? Why not? Mumbai has always fancied itself as an independent entity, anyway. This game has countless possibilities.”
Later, De clarified that it was a satirical tweet in the context of the newly-proposed Telangana state, which was not to be taken literally since she was neither recommending nor endorsing it.
De explained it was a comment on how lot of political parties would take advantage of narrow interests with elections just round the corner.
But her comments didn’t have any effect on political parties with both Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) launching tirades against her.
The Shiv Sena reacted by alleging that De was talking as if she was drunk after a Page 3 party.
Party spokesman Sanjay Raut said the state government should register an offence against this 'bai' (woman) for her remark.
"After Telangana, many people in Maharashtra are overjoyed and are clamouring for a separate Vidarbha or a separate Mumbai. If they cannot respect Maharashtra, we shall teach them how to do so," Raut declared.
Raj Thackeray went a step further and launched a personal attack at De, saying separating Mumbai from Maharashtra would not be as easy as getting a divorce and she would understand that.
Congress MP and son of state industries minister Narayan Rane, Nitesh Rane threatened the author, tweeting, “Rather than twitter, Shoba De shud say the same thing on the streets of Mumbai openly after which she won't be left with any 'shoba' forever (sic).”
On Raj Thackeray's acidic reaction, De brushed it aside and said that she took them as "seriously" as his cartoons, and he could understand satire better than anyone else.
The BJP and NCP also criticised her and asked her to delete the tweet.