Actor Kangana Ranaut, called out on Twitter for misidentifying an elderly woman at the farmers' protest in Delhi as one of the organisers of the Shaheen Bagh demonstration against the centre's controversial citizenship law, lashed out at singer-actor Diljit Dosanjh on Thursday, setting off a lengthy exchange of unpleasantries on the social networking site.
Doubling down on her tirade against the farmers' movement challenging the new agricultural laws that they say will leave them at the mercy of large corporations and override safeguards against being cheated, Ms Ranaut, an ardent supporter of the ruling BJP, called Mr Dosanjh filmmaker "Karan Johar's pet".
The Udta Punjab star hit back accusing Ms Ranaut of trying to cover up her disinformation campaign with abusive language and the spat, which began late Wednesday, continued well into Thursday evening even after the latter deleted the original tweet.
Besides being rebuked by Mr Dosanjh and several other prominent Twitter users, Kangana Ranaut has also been sent a legal notice by a Punjab-based lawyer for misidentifying a demonstrator Mahinder Kaur as Bilkis Bano, famously known as one of the "Shaheen Bagh dadis" and alleging she had joined the protest for Rs 100.
Ms Ranaut, along with other right-wing commentators, has placed herself squarely on the opposing side of the farmers who braved a brutal police crackdown in Haryana before being allowed to hold a peaceful protest in Delhi against the new agricultural laws.
As a defender of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government's policies, the Queen star has taken it upon herself to label the farmers' movement misguided, motivated and against national interest.
However, even a leader from the party criticised Ms Ranaut's original tweet.
.@KanganaTeam I respect you for your courage & acting but I will not accept anyone disrespecting or demeaning my mother. You must make a public apology for doing so.#MohinderKaurpic.twitter.com/uB835sJE1w— R.P. Singh: ਆਰ ਪੀ ਸਿੰਘ National Spokesperson BJP (@rpsinghkhalsa) December 3, 2020
Union ministers, meanwhile, began talks with farmers' leaders on Thursday to try and break the deadlock over laws passed earlier this year seeking to deregulate the agriculture sector that has ignited the country's biggest farm protests in years.
Tens of thousands of growers have camped out at the entrance to Delhi in protest against the laws seeking to rid the sector of antiquated procurement procedures and to allow farmers to sell to institutional buyers and big international retailers.
The farmers, who form a powerful political constituency, fear the laws passed in September could pave the way for the government to stop buying grains at guaranteed prices, leaving them at the mercy of private buyers.
Farm groups say the government is trying to end a decades-old policy of providing them with an assured minimum price for producing staples, such as wheat and rice.