Spl Article: Home minister Deshmukh maintains distance from Raut-Ranaut controversy

Anil Deshmukh

In a U-turn, the Maharashtra Home minister Anil Deshmukh on Saturday maintained a cautious distance from the on-going war of words between the Bollywood actress, Kangana Ranaut and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.

On Saturday when media persons at Nagpur asked his comment on the on-going Raut-Ranaut controversy, he refused to say anything on the issue. On the other hand, he said that Mumbai police was co-operating with the CBI that has been investigating Sushant Singh Rajput’s mysterious death. The state police would extend all necessary cooperation to the investigating team of the central agency, he said. A CBI team has been camping in Mumbai since August 20 to probe the case, which was earlier being handled by the Mumbai police.

However, Deshmukh had reacted sharply over Ranaut’s tweet likening Mumbai to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) on Friday and even said that the actress had “no right to live in Maharashtra or Mumbai.” Mumbai Police is compared to Scotland Yard. Some people are trying to target Mumbai Police. After her uncalled for remarks over Mumbai Police, she has no right to live in Maharashtra or Mumbai, the Home minister reportedly said while interacting with media persons in the state capital.

The war of words between the Sena spokesman Raut and Bollywood actress Ranaut began when the senior BJP MLA Ram Kadam claimed that the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha-Vikas-Aghadi is refusing to provide security to the actor for her outbursts linking actor Sushant Singh’s death to Bollywood-drug mafia. She had responded to Kadam’s comments with a Twitter post saying she is “more scared of Mumbai police now than movie mafia goons” and sought protection from “either from Himachal Pradesh government or directly from the Centre.

Attacking the Bollywood actress, Raut even called her “a mental case” over her controversial “Mumbai is like PoK” remark. She is spitting in the plate she eats from. There are some political parties supporting her, an over enthusiastic Raut said and added, “Let her go to PoK. The government should fund for her two-day visit to PoK. If the government does not, we are ready to bear the cost for her trip to PoK.

The Sena leader attacked Ranaut stating she was part of a larger plan to disturb the harmony in the state. The Sena women’s wing had also protested against the Ranaut’s remarks in several parts of Mumbai, Thane and Nashik, thanks to Raut’s statements.

Though Raut would not stop spewing venom in this regard for “pleasing his masters,” the Home minister Deshmukh, however, cautiously distanced himself from the controversy on Saturday, probably after getting instructions from his senior party leaders. Political pundits welcomed it as the government functionaries should not make such comments.

It should be mentioned here that the NCP, the party of Deshmukh, is a divided house. While Parth Pawar, son of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar had supported a CBI probe of Rajput’s case, a larger section of party functionaries, including NCP supremo, Sharad Pawar had opposed it during the period, dubbing Parth as “immature.”