Filmmaker and former Shiv Sena MP have been the subject of social media backlash after his recent comment on West Bengal was deemed as provocative and inciteful by netizens.
While dismissing allegations against him, Nandy has now claimed that his jibe of West Bengal fighting back with ‘Rabindra Sangeet and bricks’ was ‘sarcastic’ in nature and did not give any call for violence. He further ‘clarified’ that he was not a Shiv Sena MP even though he won his election to the Rajya Sabha on a Shiv Sena ticket.
Pritish Nandy claimed that he was a joint candidate of the Sena-BJP alliance and that his candidature was supported and endorsed by BJP stalwart Pramod Mahajan. “Now I want to respond to the Shiv Sena MP barb. Yes, I won an election on a Sena ticket but as a Sena-BJP joint candidate. BJP’s then super boss Pramod Mahajan ran my campaign and ensured my victory,” the filmmaker tweeted.
Balasaheb Thackeray on Pritish Nandy
However, Editor of The Print, Shekhar Gupta in an article in the Indian Express on November 24, 2012, made interesting revelations about how former Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray felt about Pritish Nandy. The article titled, “National Interest: Through his wine glass, darkly” recounts Gupta’s interaction with the saffron heavyweight, days after his demise.
Shekhar Gupta recounted how during one such dinner with Balasaheb Thackeray, he saw his grandson Aditya Thackeray wearing a T-shirt, bearing the picture of a bald-headed WWF wrestler. The Shiv Sena leader mistook the wrestler for Pritish Nandy, who was elected to the Rajya Sabha on his party ticket in July 1998.
“Yeh kya, idiot Pritish Nandy ka shirt pahan ke ghoom raha hai (Why are you wearing the shirt of that idiot Pritish Nandy)?” Thackeray rebuked his grandson. His statement, however, took Shekhar Gupta by surprise. He inquired, “He is your party MP. How can you speak of him so disparagingly?”
In his unique, no-holds-barred style, Balasaheb Thackeray replied, “Theek hai. Idiot toh main hoon,not Pritish (This is true. Actually, I am the idiot, not Pritish).” The Shiv Sena supremo emphasised, “He took Rajya Sabha from me and I figured only much later, too late, that he is Christian.” Remembering the conversation, Shekhar Gupta wrote, “Yet, it seems, at least once, he claims to have been foxed and that too by a poet journalist.”
Claims of Pritish Nandy on Pramod Mahajan, Balasaheb Thackeray
In an article titled, “The irrelevance of the BJP” published in The Times of India on May 3, 2010, Pritish Nandy claimed that while the Shiv Sena votes alone were not enough to secure his election to the Rajya Sabha, Balasaheb Thackeray had made ‘impassioned plea’ for him. The appeal of the then Shiv Sena supremo helped him get votes from the BJP as well.
“Clearly, the BJP was behind my victory even though Pramod Mahajan never quite liked me. But he listened to Balasaheb,” he noted. Today, Pritish Nandy suggests that it was the BJP which proved to be game-changer for by emphasising that Pramod Mahajan had campaigned for him.
However, he had claimed in 2010 that the BJP stalwart did not like him and would not have ‘ensured’ his victory, had it not been from Balasaheb Thackeray. Given the saffron leader’s comments about Pritish Nandy, it is safe to conclude that Balasaheb Thackeray and Pramod Mahajan were misled into believing that the ‘idiotic’ filmmaker would uphold the party’s beliefs, post his election to the Rajya Sabha.