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Wherever there is caste politics, there is Congress

Just when all the political drama about the Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie Padmaavat seemed to finally settle down, a new controversy has sparked. This time concerning another under-production movie, the Kangana Ranaut starrer Manikarnika. A brahmin outfit in Rajasthan has threatened that they will not allow the producers of the movie to continue shooting of the movie. Their claim is that the movie has an alleged ‘indecent portrayal’ of Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi.

The founder and president of the Rajasthan based Sarva Brahmin Mahasabha, Suresh Mishra has stated that he had come to know of certain objectionable scenes and a song that shows the warrior queen in an alleged love affair with an Englishman. Misra had mentioned that they have been informed that some portions of the movie have been picked up from Jaishree Misra’s historical fiction “Rani” based on Rani Laxmibai. The book was banned by then Mayawati led UP government in 2008. Misra has stated that Brahmin Mahasabha will not let the movie be shot here and will disrupt its shooting.”

Misra claims that he had sent a letter to the movie’s producer stating his concerns as Rani Laxmibai was a brahmin and wrong portrayal of her life may hurt brahmin sentiments. He also has the support of Rajput Karni Sena chief Mahipal Makrana in this regard too. He asserted that if the producers do not clarify his doubts the movie might face the same fate as Padmaavat.

The producer of Manikarnika, Kamal Jain has denied that the movie has any wrong depictions of the Queen. He had stated that they have consulted many historians and scholars before finalising the script of the movie and the movie will be a fitting tribute to the great queen.

But Sanjay Bhansali too had given similar statements. That did not stop the Karni Sena from inciting violence against the movie.

The most interesting thing about this potential political conundrum is that Mr Misra is also a secretary in the state Congress unit. We have all seen how Congress cleverly involved itself with Rajput Karni Sena to create absolute chaos and disruptions following the movie Padmaavat, where several cities saw violence and wreckage of law and order situations. When all incidents are carefully looked at in a chronological order, it comes to mind that Congress took BJP for a ride in order to score political goals, in a bus called Padmaavat, driven by Karni Sena.

What is most disturbing about this whole scenario is that this Congress and caste-based politics go hand in hand, almost always.

We have seen Congress supporting Bhim Army in Uttar Pradesh, they fanned the Bhima-Koregaon violence hailing the protests and blaming BJP for ignoring Dalits.

In case of Rohit Vemula suicide too, Congress played and played it as much they could to generate ‘Dalit Injustice’ narrative. Their support to Hardik Patel just before Gujrat polls further clarified it. Not only Hardik, Jignesh Mevani too became their darling when it came to opposing BJP. It has also tried to play the ‘Lingayat‘ card in Karnataka. A distinctive pattern emerges whenever we see any caste-based agitation in the country. Congress jumps in first, shows solidarity towards the protesters or agitators and quickly turns it into political mudslinging game to target PM Modi and BJP.

Just before Gujrat polls, Congress has declared Rahul Gandhi is a “Janeudhari Brahmin”. That followed a frenzy of Temple visits and a great show of putting tilaks and even saffron shawls around his neck.

Now that another anti-movie political game seems to be in the horizons that involve the Brahmin community, are we about to witness another Congress political stage show around a movie and a particular caste? Mr. Misra is a state Congress secretary, Is Congress going to officially support his demands? After Dalits, Rajputs, Marathas, and Patidars, are Brahmins the next vote-battery for Congress? Time will tell.

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Sanghamitra
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