BJP spokesperson Shaina NC on Thursday wrote an open letter to the citizens of Mumbai after the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena vandalised the office of her father Nana Chudasama. Former city sheriff Chudasama, who was accused of writing an 'anti-Marathi' banner in which he opposed the state government's "diktat" on reserving prime time slots for Marathi movies in multiplexes, also struck back, saying he would not be intimidated. Here is Shaina NC's open letter:
"Since my father, Nana Chudasama’s office was ransacked and his office staff threatened earlier this week by alleged goons of a political party, I have been haunted by the words they kept shouting: ‘Nana Chudasama murdabad, murdabad, murdabad! Marathi maansacha vijay asso!’
"I am at a loss to understand what was in the banner that was anti-Maharashtra, anti-Maharashtrian or anti-Marathi? He has always championed and supported the contribution of the people of our brilliant state. If anything, it should have been the party I represent that should have raised an issue. My father’s banners have always been succinct and relevant, highlighting issues that require debate. They are a part of Mumbai’s heritage and legacy.
"The leader of this party is a man who had, in the past, sought blessings of my father.
"I want to ask, what is the true nature of a political party vis-à-vis what happened earlier this week, that it claims no knowledge of the incident. Is it to be believed then that the leadership of this party exerts no control over their party workers? The alternative scenario is that the leadership was aware about what was planned and that they tacitly supported it. We would not want to believe this, but if it is true, it raises questions as to what issues this party considers priority or in interest of the public? Or is this a means to stay relevant. Should not a political party focus on core issues that affects the lives of everyone they claim to represent?
"What was even more appalling was when a representative of this political party, on a television debate the night of the attack, smugly, rudely and in a downright uncouth manner scoffed that my voice didn’t matter since I am a so-called ‘Page 3 elite’. What does that mean? When your political party seeks patronage and endorsement from film stars to serve their ends, is not this hypocrisy at its best? Am I not an equally proud Mumbaikar? Is Nana Chudasama not a Mumbaikar? Has there been any kind of government order or a court ruling that Mumbaikars can only be those having Marathi surnames?
"Neither my father nor I expect an apology from anyone. However, the Mumbaikar deserves an apology. It is my view that this party needs to introspect.
"The very essence of democracy is that diverse viewpoints can be expressed and that we can engage in debates (even if not nuanced) with views that one doesn’t agree with. What happened earlier this week at my father’s office is not just undemocratic it is downright shameful and amounts to hooliganism and barbarianism. The perpetrators of the crime are welcome to agitate, protest, shout slogans and engage in a healthy debate. However, vandalism and brute force is unacceptable."