NAGPUR, Maharashtra — Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut is at the centre of a controversy for equating Mumbai with ‘Pakistan Occupied Kashmir’ in a tweet on Thursday.
Her PoK reference evoked a strong reaction from Marathi film personalities and also from some Bollywood actors such as Taapsee Pannu and Urmila Matondkar. As people from Maharashtra and Maha Vikas Aghadi supporters joined the critics, Ranaut’s name began trending on Twitter, along with hashtags such as #AmchiMumbai and #ILoveMumbai.
On Friday, some senior ministers in the Uddhav Thackeray cabinet, including Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, criticised the tweets, alleging that she was doing the BJP’s bidding.
“The common public of Maharashtra will never forgive those who are insulting Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s Maharashtra using someone like Kangana. The people of Maharashtra know who has hatched this plot to defame Mumbai police and Maharashtra with an eye on the Bihar election. Those who were hatching conspiracies against the MVA government, are now doing the same against Marathi Manus and Maharashtra,” Maharashtra revenue minister and state Congress president Balasaheb Thorat tweeted on Friday.
Deshmukh also condemned Ranaut’s statement and said that she has no right to live in Mumbai if she doesnt feel safe here.
But the actor clearly appeared to be in a mood for a confrontation.
In a series of tweets on Friday, she said that many people are threatening her not to come back to Mumbai.
“I have decided to travel to Mumbai this coming week on 9 September and I will post the time when I land at Mumbai airport,” she tweeted, daring anyone to stop her.
In a tweet in response to Anil Deshmukh’s statement, Ranaut tweeted that the minister was “taking his own calls” on her democratic rights.
Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut created a controversy of his own by claming that his party would “teach a lesson” to people like Ranaut.
“ Mumbai belongs to Marathi manoos...those who don’t accept this will be shown thier place… Shiv Sena will teach a lesson to the enemies of Maharashtra,” tweeted Raut.
The BJP has distanced itself from Ranaut’s comments.
“It is unfortunate to connect Kangana Ranaut’s statement about Mumbai and Maharashtra with the BJP. BJP doesn’t agree with her. Kangana Ranaut should not try to teach anything to Maharashtra. Also, no one should try to attack BJP in through Kangana in the Sushant Singh Rajput case,” senior BJP leader Ashish Shelar tweeted on Friday.
Ranaut’s supporters have also been tweeting in her favour.