Bhandara, Feb 18: The Maharashtra Congress on Thursday warned that it would stop shooting or screening of Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar’s films as “they have failed to speak up” on burning public issues.
In a strong statement, state Congress President Nana Patole said that the Bharatiya Janata Party government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hiked petrol-diesel-gas prices exorbitantly, while farmers have been protesting outside Delhi for the past nearly three months.
However, in the midst of these grave crises, many celebs including Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay, who had raised their voices against the Congress-led UPA Government in the past on various issues, are now absolutely silent, and he cautioned that the party would stop their film shootings/screenings for keeping aloof.
“The Modi regime has hiked fuel prices with petrol going up to Rs 100, domestic cooking gas cylinders up to Rs800. Life has become miserable for the common masses. Even the farmers are protesting outside Delhi, demanding the revoking of the 3 new farm laws,” Patole said.
“Compared with the rates during the UPA government, the prices of fuel are nearly double now in the 7 years of BJP rule At that time all these celebs spoke out against the government, but now they are scared of the BJP and keeping mum,” Patole said.
He was speaking at a bullock cart-cum-tractor rally in Bhandara to support the farmers agitation and the four-hour long all-India rail-roko stir by farmers organisations.
“The UPA Government was a democratic and constitutional administration, that is why Bachchan and Kumar and many other celebs were raising their voice without fear against it. Today, when they are expected to speak out, they have become puppets of the BJP,” alleged Patole.
Now, the celebs no longer talk about or speak out against inflation, spiralling fuel prices, atrocities against farmers and other sections of society though people from all over the world have tweeted and thrown their weight behind the farmers of India, he said.
“These Indian celebs remained quiet even when the BJP and its IT Cell denounced the farmers protests, labelling them as terrorists, Khalistanis, Maoists, etc. But at the behest of the BJP and its IT Cell, they resorted to anti-farmer tweets. Have the celebs become mere ‘parrots’ of the IT Cell..?” Patole demanded.
Patole’s warning came barely two days after State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh announced that a preliminary Mumbai Police probe has revealed the involvement of the BJP IT Cell chief and 12 other influencers in the recent controversy surrounding celeb tweets.
Earlier, Congress state Spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that the Congress charge of pressure being put on celebs to tweet in favour of the government, now stands exposed.
“After our demand to probe if the BJP had arm-twisted the celebs to speak up in favour of the government vis-a-vis the farmers protests, not a single celebrity has come forward to declare that it was his/her opinion,” Sawant pointed out.
Though BJP President J. P. Nadda, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar and state Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis tried to cover up the BJP’s conspiracy with regard to the celebs tweets, the silence of these renowned celebrities has spoken by itself, Sawant said.