New Delhi, Feb 6 (UNI) Union Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar today condemned the raking up of 'Maharashtrian chauvinism' by the MNS as ''an attempt to earn cheap publicity'', and said such tactics had always been shortlived as the metropolis largely sustained on the contribution of non-Marathi speaking Mumbaikars.
''The explosive statement of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray against the non-Marathi speaking people as well as that of local Samajwadi Party leaders which led to the provocative situation in the city is condemnable,'' Mr Pawar, a heavyweight politician from Maharashtra, said while reacting for the first time to the situation in Mumbai.
The Nationalist Congress Party chief, however, dismissed the violence as a ''small incident blown out of proportion'' by the media.
''Earning such hype in media could be the motive of the perpetrators of violence who were only 40-50 in number and had created a scene to get themselves noticed,'' he said at a press conference here.
The Union Agriculture and Food Minister was highly critical of the media, particularly the electronic, for endlessly repeating the ''small incident''.
''I was told that a small incident was shown 36 times by a television channel,'' he said and asked the mediapersons why they were indulging in such type of journalism.
Mr Pawar said in a larger perspective, how could Marathi speaking persons project themselves as a separate entity and how could they treat people from other states as 'outsiders'.
The Marathi speaking people now constitute only 23 per cent of the Mumbai city and the rest are from other states who have also contributed a lot to the development of the metropolis.
Even Marathi speaking people and other Indians who had migrated to Mauritius two-three centuries ago, are still celebrating "Bharat Day" there, he said adding this time the Prime Minister is going to participate in the event there. Being an Indian pre-dominates all other indentities, he stressed.
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