After the recent controversy over the extension of Bhau Daji Lad museum at Byculla on an existing playground, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Sunday forced organisers to cancel the grand finale of the Lakme Fashion Week scheduled at the venue.
Hours before the event was expected to start, local MNS leaders and party workers threatened to disrupt the fashion show.
The event, where actor Kareena Kapoor was to walk the ramp for designer Anamika Khanna, was later held at the Palladium, Lower Parel.
“This was unfair as the show had nothing to do with the playground. It was a fund-raising event for the maintenance of the museum. They threatened that 30 people would enter and disrupt the show. Their attitude sends out a wrong message to the world. Across the globe, museums hold fashion shows as fashion is a form of art,” said Tasneem Mehta, director, Bhau Daji Lad museum.
Since October last year, the museum authorities and the civic body have been facing flak for appointing a US-based architect to construct a museum building over an adjoining playground plot. The project would cost Rs400 crore. The MNS had started a referendum, asking citizens to tell what they want – a playground or a museum. Over 99% of the voters voted for the playground to be maintained.
Local party activist Sanjay Naik said the event was organised without the permission of the civic body. “The mayor heads the trust and a permission was not taken from her to hold the event. It is the BMC’s property and not any private property. The museum needs to follow BMC rules before allowing such events,” said Naik.
Mehta, however, slammed the political party. “It was needless politicisation to gain publicity. As per rules, as director and managing trustee, I have all rights to hold fund-raising events,” said Mehta.