Mumbai: The political fault lines in the State over the ban on sale of firecrackers were more than apparent on Tuesday. Ramdas Kadam, Minister for Environment, lost no time in voicing his support for the ban and even said he will consult Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis government on the matter.
However, Sanjay Raut, Sena’s Member of Parliament, raised the red flag arguing that the livelihood of scores of Marathi youth depends on firecracker sales and demanded that the government should not impose any ban. Raut remarked, “What great effort is there in snatching the livelihood of people, when you cannot give them alternative employment? Firecrackers are burst in 199 countries around the world. Then why are you dousing the kitchen fires of the poor? Ban on firecrackers is not a solution for checking pollution.”
The apex court verdict also evoked a sharp reaction from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray who wanted to know whether people should burst firecrackers on Whatsapp? Observers said most of this was political posturing and intended to appease the hard core Hindu voter. The utterances need to be seen in context as they have emanated only after the SC verdict. Suddenly, across the political spectrum everyone is concerned about the livelihood of the Marathi manoos.