There will be a special screening of Shah Rukh Khan-starrer My Name Is Khan on Friday — organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiv Sena’s electoral allies in Maharashtra.
In the audience will be a number of senior BJP leaders, including L.K Advani, the party’s 2009 prime ministerial candidate.
The screening is being organised by Shaina NC, a rising face in the party’s youth wing and daughter of state BJP leader and former Mumbai sheriff Nana Chudasama. “I am doing it because SRK is my friend. Everyone has a right to say what he wants,” she said. “Nobody should be targeted for his views.”
The BJP has gone a step further, officially rejecting the Sena’s description of Khan as an ‘enemy of India’, saying instead that he had done the country proud by his work in cinema.
Insiders say the change in the BJP’s stand on the Marathi manoos issue follows the alliance’s defeat in the 2009 state election. The poll losses prompted many BJP leaders to question the party’s hardline approach, insiders say, but critics inside the party allegedly silenced them, claiming the support of the RSS.
Now, with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat flaying the Sena’s campaign against north Indians, BJP sources say the party has got the hint that they are free to reposition the party.
Party sources also said the BJP was reluctant to alienate Khan’s massive youth following, which has supported him through this controversy.