Actor Sonu Sood on Sunday met Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at his residence in Mumbai, hours after Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut accused him of “enacting a script by the Bharatiya Janata Party” to show the state government in a bad light. Sood has been credited for making transport arrangements for over hundreds of migrant workers stranded in Mumbai because of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
But Raut claimed that the actor’s recent efforts were a ploy of the BJP to jeopordise the government in Maharashtra. In his weekly column in the party’s mouthpiece Saamana, Raut raised questions on the sudden rise of “Mahatma” Sood, and referred to a sting operation ahead of the 2019 General Elections, which showed the actor accepting an offer to promote the BJP-led government on various social media platforms.
“Sood is an actor whose profession is to deliver dialogues scripted by someone else and make a living out of it,” Raut said. “There are many people like Sood who would promote any political party if paid well.” Apart from sending thousands of migrants home, Sood has also lent support to Delhi BJP’s Mission Anivarya, a scheme for distributing sanitary pads among underprivileged women in the midst of the countrywide lockdown, according to The Indian Express.
Defending the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which also comprises the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress, over its handling of the migrant crisis, Raut said, “No other state could have treated migrant workers the way they have been taken care of by the Maharashtra government.” He added that in order to show the state government’s work in poor light, Sood has been deliberately promoted.
But Sood downplayed Raut’s criticism and said that every political party in the country has supported him, NDTV reported. “They are also supporting it and it’s not about any particular party or anything,” he said. “We have to support all the people who are suffering... every party from Kashmir to Kanyakumari has supported me.”
Meanwhile, Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray, who was also present during the meeting with the actor, said that it was “good to have met a good soul to work for people together”. “This evening Sonu Sood met up with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ji along with minister Aslam Shaikh and me,” he tweeted. “Better together, stronger together to assist as many people through as many people.”
NCP leader and Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh also denied that the government shared Raut’s views on Sood and said the party will appreciate whoever takes good initiatives. “Actor Sonu Sood has done good work by sending a lot of migrant workers to their homes,” he told ANI. “I did not hear what Sanjay Raut said. We will appreciate whoever takes such good initiatives, be it Sonu Sood or anyone else.”