The Censor Board has approved it, the Central government has also given it a clean chit, the film’s name was also changed a little, cuts suggested by the CBFC were also accepted, but even after all that, the people of Rajasthan won’t be able to watch the spectacular drama ‘Padmavati’ on screen, correction ‘Padmavat’. The Vasundhara Raje government of Rajasthan has imposed a ban on the screening of the film in the state.
After all, why is the Vasundhara Raje government so scared of this film? The obvious answer is- by-elections in the two Lok Sabha seats and one Assembly seat in Rajasthan. These elections will be held on January 29. The seats are the Lok Sabha seats of Alwar and Ajmer and Vidhan Sabha seat of Manjalgarh. The Lok Sabha seats were vacated after the demise of Mahant Chandnath and Sanwar Lal Jat respectively.
For a long time now, there has been a constant conflict between the Rajput community and the BJP in Rajasthan. The Rajput community has been aggressively opposing the film ‘Padmavat’. If the film is released in such a scenario, their conflict can be out in the open and the BJP may have to bear the brunt of it in the election results in these constituencies.
According to a newspaper report, the president of Shri Rajput Sabha, Giriraj Lotwara, has said, “Since the CBFC has not respected the opinions of the descendants of the royal family of Mewar, Arvind Singh Mewar, and since the government has allowed the screening of the film in the rest of the country, we are very unhappy with the Central government of the BJP. When Mewar was invited to be included in the special committee to review the film, he had strongly opposed the film’s release.” He says if his advice was not to be paid attention to, then why was he invited and insulted like this?
Almost all the Rajput organisations, including Karni Sena and Mewar Rajput Sena, have united against the BJP over this under the leadership of Lotwara. Lotwara opines, “The ban on the film has been imposed considering the by-elections in Rajasthan only. We will work against the BJP in the by-elections.”
According to reports, the Vasundhara Raje government had this information that if Padmavat, which is being released on January 25, is screened in Rajasthan, then violence may erupt on a large scale.
This is not the only problem for the Raje government. The Rajputs were very angry when a gangster Anandpal Singh was allegedly killed in a fake police encounter. After a lot of protests and demonstrations by the Rajput organisations, the Raje government had handed over the case to CBI for investigation. But it further annoyed the Rajputs. The Rajput organisations say the state government had agreed that only the Anandpal case would be handed over to the CBI but the it sent about 115 cases related to it to the CBI. The Rajput organisations called it a Raje government hoax.
An anxious Raje government had no option but to ban the film’s release in the state. Vasundhara Raje said, “The sacrifice of Queen Padmavati is connected to the state’s honour and pride. Therefore, Queen Padmavati is not only a chapter in history for us, but is a part of our self-respect. We will not let her dignity be hurt in any case.” Vasundhara Raje has given special instruction to the state home minister Gulab Chand Kataria to stop the release of the film in the state. Gulabchand Kataria on Monday said in Udaipur the state government had already written to Central government for not releasing the film in Rajasthan.
The Congress has said that once a film gets the certificate from CBFC, it becomes the responsibility of the state to see to it that the film is released peacefully.
Controversies have been dogging the film for a long time now. The film was initially scheduled to be released in December but due to protests, its release was put off although experts say the real reason behind this was election in Gujarat. They say that since Gujarat also has a large population of Rajputs, the film’s release in December could have a negative impact on the Gujarat election results.