Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole on Thursday threatened to stop the shooting and release of the movies of actors Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar if they didn’t speak out against the rise in fuel and cooking gas prices under the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government, NDTV reported.
Patole pointed out that the two actors were vocal about rising prices when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance was in power at the Centre. “Rising fuel prices has hit common people’s homes,” Patole was quoted as saying by the news channel. “During the Manmohan Singh government people like Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar used to tweet [about fuel prices]. Today they are silent.”
The Maharashtra Congress chief accused the actors of not having the courage to speak against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “dictatorial” government. “In Maharashtra, we will not allow the shooting of films involving Amitabh Bachchan or Akshay Kumar,” Patole said, according to NDTV. “Either you speak up against the anti-national policies of the Narendra Modi government or we will stop your movies’ shooting.”
The prices of petrol have crossed Rs 100 in some states. In Mumbai petrol now costs Rs 96.32 per litre, while diesel sells at Rs 87.32.
Patole said that the price of crude oil was so low internationally that petrol and diesel could be sold at “Rs 35 and Rs 25 a litre”, Hindustan Times reported.
The Bharatiya Janata Party hit out at Patole for his remarks. BJP leader Atul Bhatkhalkar said that Patole had violated the law by threatening the actors, Hindustan Times reported. “Patole should act and react within the limits of his post,” the BJP leader said. How can Congress expect actors to act and speak as it wants.”
BJP leader Ram Kadam also spoke in support of the actors, NDTV reported. “Is tweeting in favour of India a crime?” he asked. “Some people sitting abroad are tarnishing India’s image and the Congress is supporting them.” Kadam’s remark was a veiled reference to the farmers’ protest document case.
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis called Patole’s remarks a publicity stunt, ANI reported. “This is Nana Patole’s publicity stunt as he has been newly elected as the state Congress president,” Fadnavis said. “How can anyone stop shooting [of films]? There is democracy and law in the country.”
Opposition parties have repeatedly criticised the Centre about the skyrocketing fuel prices. However, Modi on Wednesday blamed his predecessors for the skyrocketing fuel prices. He claimed that if the previous governments had focussed on reducing the country’s energy import dependence, the middle class would not have been this burdened by the fuel prices presently.