MUMBAI: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday took a swipe at the BJP, claiming it was providing “entertainment” to people, and questioned the need for opening cinema halls and drama auditoriums during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notably, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said cinema halls and drama theatres in the state will be permitted to operate from October 22 on the condition that they follow all the protocols required to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

In his weekly column ‘Rokhthok’ in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Raut, who is the executive editor of the Marathi daily, said the opposition party (BJP) in Maharashtra has “crossed all limits”.

“Every day, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya levels new allegations against different state ministers and visits their constituencies. I feel the state government shouldn’t stop his tours. His allegations are like soap bubbles. Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil has a different style,” he quipped.

“Even though the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions continue, political entertainment programmes are on in the country.

In all, there is fun everywhere… there is mystery and comedy in the entertainment that is being provided by the opposition party. Is there a need to open cinema halls and drama auditoriums?” he wondered.

Raut, whose party shares power with the NCP and Congress in Maharashtra, claimed that the state BJP unit has made a “mockery” of central probe agencies.

He said Maharashtra had a rich tradition of illustrious opposition leaders like Madhu Dandavate, Madhu Limaye, George Fernandes and Hiren Mukherjee, who launched fierce agitations against the then governments and exposed corruption.

Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi also bore the brunt, he said.

In Maharashtra, leaders like Datta Patil, Mrunal Gore, Keshavrao Dhondge, Krushnarao Dhulap and Gopinath Munde kept various state governments on tenterhooks, but there was no viciousness as in the present times, the Shiv Sena’s chief spokesperson said.

Chief ministers like Shivajirao Nilangekar, A R Antulay and Vilasrao Deshmukh had to quit because of the opposition attack, he noted.

“Today, the opposition is a just a comedy show. It is doing nothing, but threatening of ED inquiries and indulging in character assassination,” he claimed.