Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati hasn’t watched Aamir Khan’s PK — or any movie since joining politics, for that matter — but on Saturday she pitched for removal of “objectionable portions” from the multi-crore grosser that have apparently hurt Hindu sentiments.
“I am not demanding a ban but if people are agitated, the objectionable portions should be removed from the movie,” she said and blamed the censor board for being blind to people’s feeling and sensitivities.
“The censor board should ensure before clearing a movie it does not hurt the sentiments of the people or religious group.”
Hard-line Hindu outfits, such as the Bajrang Dal and the VHP, have been protesting across Uttar Pradesh as well as the country seeking a ban on the controversial movie which explores so-called prejudices of gods and godmen through an alien from outer space, portrayed by Aamir.
Mayawati cautioned Bollywood filmmakers to be careful and not to cross the line for popularity.
She hit out at chief minister Akhilesh Yadav for waiving the entertainment tax for PK. “For political gains, one should not misuse power. The decision might add fuel to fire leading to communal tension in the state.”
Akhilesh wanted everybody to watch the movie for its message while announcing the tax exemption.
“I have stopped watching movies after I joined politics. The anger among the people motivated me to speak against the movie,” Mayawati said.
She hasn’t watched PK, and has no plan to do so either, but her stand on the movie is seen as a counterweight to woo upper-caste Hindus who have drifted away from the BSP during the Lok Sabha election in May.
The BSP’s social engineering formula of “upper caste and dalit” votes brought it to power in the 2007 assembly election but failed miserably in the 2014 parliamentary poll. The party has been desperately trying to consolidate its dalit support base and, at the same time, win upper-caste voters back in its fold before the 2017 assembly election.
Mayawati asked why the Bharat Ratna was conferred on two Brahmins, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Madan Mohan Malviya, while Dalit leaders Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and Jyotiba Phule were overlooked.
If she was more or less on the same page with the Hindu radicals over PK, she was scathingly critical of the religious conversion events where Muslims and Christians have apparently switched to Hinduism. “These are creating communal tension.”