A year after slamming actor Shah Rukh Khan for a brawl at a T-20 league match, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray wants Wankhede Stadium mandarins to lift the five-year ban on the co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders.
While the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) stood its ground and did not allow Khan to enter the stadium where KKR played its first match in the city on Tuesday, the Congress too joined MNS in seeking relief for the actor.
Last year, MCA banned Khan for abusing security guard Vikas Dalvi, who had stopped the actor and others from entering the cricket ground after KKR defeated Mumbai Indians.
Incidentally, MNS had then condemned Khan for his misconduct and decided to felicitate Dalvi for not allowing the actor on the prohibited ground area. The MNS had called Dalvi an ideal 'Marathi Manoos' who effectively countered Khan's choicest expletives. The party could not honour the guard because he had prolonged his stay in his native village after the incident.
A year on, Raj chose to forget the past and support the actor. "Khan is not a terrorist to get banned from watching a match," said Thackeray.
"It is a childish behaviour (on part of MCA). Khan could have been wrong then but there's no point in stretching the matter too far."
The state Congress, meanwhile, wrote to the MCA.
"Khan has publicly apologised for his misconduct. We feel that it would be in the interest of sports if the MCA shows true sportsman spirit and allows entry to Khan," said party spokesperson Sachin Sawant in an email to MCA president Ravi Sawant.
"It is not the question of Khan as an actor, but of any citizen - a ban is not a democratic punishment, especially when the person has apologised," it added.