This Article is From Aug 01, 2013

'Why can't Mumbai be a separate state?' Shobhaa De's tweet irks Maharashtra parties

Mumbai: An acerbic Shobha De tweet has political parties in Maharashtra exercised.

The columnist tweeted after the Congress announced the decision to create a new Telangana state, "Maharashtra and Mumbai??? Why not? Mumbai has always fancied itself as an independent entity, anyway. This game has countless possibilities."

Slammed by various politicians for her suggestion, Ms De told NDTV that her tweet was satirical and that she saw no reason to apologise for it. "What I have said is not offensive. It was in the context of Telangana saying that what is happening in Andhra Pradesh could also happen in any other state. It is a political maneuver. I have at no stage recommended, endorsed or suggested that Maharashtra should separate from Mumbai," she said.

"It was satirical, they missed the context," she said, describing as "sexist" the words used by leaders of the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena against her today. "This woman is not backing off, not backing down," Ms De added.

MNS chief Raj Thackeray said creating a new state was not as easy as getting a divorce and she (Ms De) would understand that.

Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut suggested that the author was drunk and said the state government should register an offence against her. "After Telangana, many people in Maharashtra are overjoyed and are clamouring for a separate Vidarbha or a separate Mumbai. If they cannot respect Maharashtra, we shall teach them how to do so," Mr Raut declared.

Even Nationalist Congress Party's spokesperson Nawab Malik sternly informed Ms De, "Such demands are not acceptable." The NCP rules Maharashtra along with the Congress and, as an ally also at the Centre, supported the move to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh to create a separate Telangana state.

The BJP has demanded an apology and a retraction of the statement.