Has Pune Congress shot itself in the foot targeting Bhandarkar

Rohit Chandavarkar
Tuesday, 18 July 2017

When film director Madhur Bhandarkar planned his film promotion tour to Pune last week; he would not have imagined that the pre-release publicity that he was planning would come so easy and at such a low cost.

When film director Madhur Bhandarkar planned his film promotion tour to Pune last week; he would not have imagined that the pre-release publicity that he was planning would come so easy and at such a low cost.

Usually the publicity and promotion budget of any medium scale bollywood movie would cross a couple of crores but thanks to the campaign taken up by the Congress party, Bhandarkar was on the front page of every newspaper of city and on every national news channel over the weekend without perhaps spending even a fraction of that. The city unit of Congress party decided to suddenly launch a “blockade agitation” against Bhandarkar and he locked himself inside a hotel room for several hours where Congress workers kept protesting.

The protest then got extended to other cities where Bhandarkar went on film promotion tour and now it has finally become a political debate where Bhandarkar has started tweeting to Rahul Gandhi asking the legitimacy of this agitation.

After a sustained campaign that the liberals and Congress party ran for many months claiming the political environment in the country has become intolerant and restriction of freedom of speech have become the hallmark of the present regime; the Congress party workers going after a film director over some alleged controversial content in the film looks completely hypocritical.

Currently so much distress is being felt because of the slowdown in the information technology sector, citizens of the city are losing their loved once to outbreak of swine flu as hospitals do not have proper supply of medicines, farmers are facing many problems of credit supply and there are many other issues that the opposition should take up. Instead of focusing on any of these issues the Congress wants to launch an agitation against a movie?! 

Rejected by the people in the latest municipal polls that happened just a few months ago the Pune unit of Congress party seems quite desperate to find some foothold in the city’s political space, but instead of taking up issues that will result in mass mobilisation and generating public support, the party now seems to be focusing on some trivial issues which are chosen on the basis of prospect of getting media publicity. 

The city leadership is doing this obviously because they think they can impress the party high command by agitating against a movie director who is telling some story against the controversial backdrop of imposition of emergency in India by Indira Gandhi, but the wider picture is that Congress may lose its ground in the intolerance debate on a national level if they show this kind of tendency to agitate against a movie director.

The city leadership is doing this obviously because they think they can impress the party high command by agitating against a movie director who is telling some story against the controversial backdrop of imposition of emergency in India by Indira Gandhi, but the wider picture is that Congress may lose its ground in the intolerance debate on a national level if they show this kind of tendency to agitate against a movie director for the content in the movie . 

- ROHIT CHANDAVARKAR

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