Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole has accused Bollywood celebrities, who had once been critical of the central government over fuel prices, of remaining silent about skyrocketing fuel rates and threatened not allowing shooting of films involving stars such as Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar. Patole made these statements in Bhandara on Thursday (February 18).
“Rising fuel prices has hit common people’s homes. During the Manmohan Singh government people like Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar used to tweet [about fuel prices]. Today they are silent,” Patole said. “Don’t they have the courage to speak against the dictatorial Modi government?”
“In Maharashtra, we will not allow the shooting of films involving Amitabh Bachchan or Akshay Kumar. Either you speak up against the anti-national policies of the Narendra Modi government or we will stop your movies’ shooting,” he said.
The BJP came out in support of the stars. State BJP leader Ram Kadam asked in a video, which is being circulated on social media: “Is tweeting in favour of India a crime?” He said: “Some people sitting abroad are tarnishing India’s image and the Congress is supporting them.”
Bollywood personalities such as Lata Mangeshkar and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar had tweeted against foreign interference in India’s internal affairs after American pop star Rihanna, adult-movie actress Mia Khalifa, and teen climate activist Greta Thunberg. There were allegations that the Bollywood celebrities and other famous personalities had tweeted at the behest of the Indian government.
The prices of branded or additive-laced petrol, which attracts higher taxes, have crossed the ₹100-mark in some places, including Maharashtra. In Mumbai, petrol now costs ₹96.32 a litre and diesel ₹87.32.
(With inputs from agencies)