Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s demolition drive at actor Kangana Ranaut’s property earlier in the day, was giving people a “reason to raise doubts”, Hindustan Times reported. Pawar also said that undue importance was being given to Ranaut’s statements amid her tussle with the Maharashtra government.
Pawar’s party is a part of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra. The Mumbai civic body is controlled by the Shiv Sena.
“I don’t know if there was anything illegal and read about it [the demolition drive] only in the newspapers,” he was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. “It won’t be appropriate to comment on this without having proper information. Illegal work is not a new thing in Mumbai. However, BMCs action in the backdrop of the ongoing situation allows people to raise doubt over it. BMC officials have their own rules and may have found it appropriate to take the action.”
Before the Bombay High Court stayed the demolition of Ranaut’s property in Bandra area, the actor had tweeted multiple videos of the drive and repeated her “Mumbai is PoK [Pakistan-occupied Kashmir]” remark. She used the hashtag #DeathofDemocrarcy along with her videos. On Tuesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had served a notice to Ranaut for alleged construction norm violations.
Pawar said that such comments must not be taken seriously. “We are giving undue importance to those making such statements,” the senior leader said, according to PTI. “We will have to see what influence such statements have on the people at large. In my opinion, people do not take [such statements] seriously.”
Pawar said that the residents of Mumbai had “years of experience” about how the police functioned. “They [the people] know the performance of the police,” he said. “And hence, we need not pay heed to what one says.”
However, a day after the BJP distanced itself from Ranaut’s comments against the Maharashtra government, the party’s leader Devendra Fadnavis supported the actor in the row over the demolition drive. “This has never happened in the history of Maharashtra,” he told ANI.
Fadnavis had on Monday said that the BJP does not support her remark that comparing Mumbai to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, but added that the onus to protect her was on the state government.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, who is also a BJP leader, Jairam Thakur also voiced his support for the actor. “The Maharashtra government’s move against her is very unfortunate,” he said, according to NDTV. “I condemn this move. Himachal’s daughter Kangana Ranaut only made her voice heard and raised some issues, but they are taking action for that. This is really unfortunate.”
Ranaut hits out at Uddhav Thackeray
In a video message, Ranaut hit out at Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for the demolition drive. “Uddhav Thackeray, what do you think?” she said. “That you will demolish my house by colluding with the film mafia and take revenge on me.”
The actor told Thackeray that his arrogance will “crumble” one day like her house. “This is the wheel of time that never stays the same,” she said.
Ranaut said she now understood the pain of Kashmiri Pandits who were exiled from their home. “You [Thackeray] have done me a favour,” she said. “I knew what the Kashmiri Pandits had endured but today I felt it too today. “I promise to make a film not just on Ayodhya but also Kashmir.”
Ranaut was on Monday provided her Y-plus security by the Centre during the row between her and the Maharashtra government. The controversy began after Ranaut claimed that Mumbai felt like Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and that she feared living in the city. She had also criticised the Mumbai Police for its handling of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
Sanjay Raut, a senior leader of the state’s ruling Shiv Sena, had hit back at Ranaut and asked her not to return to Mumbai after her comments on security in the state.
On Tuesday, a privilege motion was moved against the actor for her comment comparing Mumbai to PoK.