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On Republic Day, ‘cartoon war’ escalates between MNS and BJP

Art attack: Raj Thackeray shared the cartoon on his official Facebook page on Saturday.

Art attack: Raj Thackeray shared the cartoon on his official Facebook page on Saturday.  

Sketch by Raj Thackeray shows Narendra Modi, Amit Shah hanging Mother India; pro-BJP groups share the same cartoon by replacing the woman with Raj Thackeray himself.

A cartoon made by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Republic Day, showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah hanging a woman named ‘republic’ from a fort, is an addition to the ‘cartoon war’ between the parties.

As Mr. Thackeray shared the cartoon with the caption ‘Swatantrate na baghavate’ (can’t see her independent) on his official Facebook page on Saturday, the parties’ social media war escalated with certain pro-BJP groups sharing the same cartoon, but replacing the woman with Mr. Thackeray himself. They changed the caption to ‘Acchhe din na baghavate’ (can’t see good days) and labeled the rope ‘demonetisation’. This was shared on Facebook by many groups supporting the BJP and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

“Mr. Thackeray’s (cartoons) are leading the attack against the BJP and Mr. Modi creatively. These are liked not only by his supporters, but even by those who usually never agree with him such as Ambedkarites, socialists, Congress supporters. This is a real problem for the BJP and their online teams are trying to make fun of Mr. Thackeray to counter him,” Kirtikumar Shinde, author of the book Dagalbaj Raj, who defends the MNS chief’s politics on social media, said.

Mr. Shinde claimed that Mr. Thackeray’s cartoons are visually so appealing to the masses that the BJP is left with no option but to ridicule him through paid trolls and paid posts. “How can anyone show a person hanging just because they do not agree with his creative opinion?” asked Mr. Shinde. BJP office bearers claimed that the cartoon showing Mr. Thackeray hanging has nothing to do with their party and is possibly a creation of the internet.

Mr. Thackeray’s cartoon is inspired by his uncle Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray’s old sketch in which Bharat Mata (Mother India) is being strangled by hands captioned ‘pre-planned riots’ and ‘problems in the north-eastern States’.

This is not the first time that MNS and BJP have crossed swords over cartoons. Previously, the MNS chief’s cartoon over killing of tigress Avni too had irked the BJP, which responded with a political taunt, mocking him over his alleged neglecting of politics for love for cartoons.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 5:49:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/on-republic-day-cartoon-war-escalates-between-mns-bjp/article26106447.ece

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