Mumbai: An innocuous Twitter comment by celebrity author Shobha De became the cause of a bitter backlash by two major political parties in the state here on Wednesday.
De's tweet on the possibility of separating Mumbai from Maharashtra after the formation of Telangana evoked sharp reactions from the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), led by the warring cousins Uddhav Thackeray and Raj Thackeray respectively.
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 attacked De by saying that creating a new state was not as easy as getting a divorce and she would understand that.
De's tweet was: "Maharashtra and Mumbai??? Why not? Mumbai has always fancied itself as an independent entity anyway. This game has countless possibilities."
Later, De said 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.
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.
Vidarbha leaders demand separate state, Sena opposes
Amid clamour by the legislators from Vidarbha to carve out a separate state, the Shiv Sena today said it would not allow the division of Maharashtra.
"We will not allow the division of Maharashtra till we (Shiv Sena) are alive," Sena legislator Ramdas Kadam said in the state Legislative Council.
For some time Kadam had an argument with BJP legislator from Vidharbha Shobha Fadnavis, who alleged during a debate on wet drought that the region faced discrimination.
"There is 1.5 per cent irrigation in Konkan. Whereas in Vidarbha the irrigation capacity is upto 5 per cent," Kadam, who hails from Khed in Konkan, said.
Meanwhile, BJP legislator Ashish Shelar asked the state government to take action against columnist Shobha De over her tweet on a separate Mumbai state.