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Is political vendetta behind protests against Kher?

April 13, 2011 14:19 IST

Even as the sporadic incidents of activists claiming to be followers of Dr B R Ambedkar's ideology staging violent protests in Mumbai over the alleged slur on the Constitution by actor Anupam Kher, the episode smacks of political vendetta.

The breach of privilege motion passed in the Maharashtra assembly against Kher has been initiated by the Nationalist Congress Party which has been nursing a wound after its party chief Sharad Pawar had to quit the anti-corruption committee in the wake of social activist Anna Hazare's fast.

The privilege motion has been initiated by NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad who had claimed that Kher during a TV debate had remarked that Constitution should be 'thrown out'.

Though the TV news channel concerned replayed the debate and showed that no derogatory remark was made against the Constitution, the controversy continued as NCP leaders, who had participated in the debate, didn't relent from their stand.

What Kher had said during the TV debate was, "India is a modern state and has progressed ahead and we have become a global market.... free market and correspondingly our Constitution should be changed. Time has changed and today we no longer wear khadi and we now cook in microwaves compared to the chulas used by our grandmothers."

Awhad did not respond to the calls by rediff.com, however, after the news channel relayed Anupam's clip, the former has reportedly altered his stand. Awhad has now been quoted claiming, "Even saying that the Constitution needs to be changed is an insult."

"When it comes to choking free speech and people's movements, politicians cutting across party lines have always ganged up together. All political parties have been shaken from their roots after the tremendous response to Anna Hazare's fight against corruption," said trade union leader Rajan Raje, who whole-heartedly participated in the movemnet against corruption.

According to Raje, even Dr Ambedkar has been very broadminded about the Constitution.

"Dr Ambedkar had said that he was not able to deliver the kind of Constitution which he would prefer and more importantly he said that Constitution without its means of its amendments is a Constitution without the means of its preservation," said Raje.

Awhad, interestingly, owns a flat in the tainted Adarsh building in south Mumbai, over which former chief minister Ashok Chavan had to lose his chair.

N Ganesh in Mumbai