Mumbai (The Hindu): The Congress on Sunday demanded the resignation of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for “brokering” a truce between Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray and the makers of the film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, while ally Shiv Sena slammed the BJP for compromising the Army’s self-respect.
Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said the exhibition of films is guided not by the “goons” of any organisation but by the Cinematographic Act that permits screening after clearance by the Censor Board. It was the duty, he said, of State governments to uphold the law and ensure that films that had the necessary official clearances could be screened, while maintaining law and order.
Instead, he said, Mr. Fadnavis presided over a meeting of the MNS and representatives of the film industry that decided that a sum of money would be deposited with the Army Welfare Fund in exchange for allowing the screening of any film that had Pakistani actors. Not surprisingly, he said, the Army itself had rejected this “blood money.”
This arbitration, the Congress spokesperson said, was enough to demand Mr. Fadnavis’s resignation.
The Mumbai Congress too on Sunday targeted Mr. Fadnavis and MNS chief Raj Thackeray for dragging the Army into political dealings. “The BJP is using the MNS to overshadow the Shiv Sena in all this drama. As far as it is a political move, we are fine with it. But dragging the Indian Army into this for political gains is not only wrong but deplorable,” said Mumbai Congress unit chief Sanjay Nirupam.
He said the Army’s refusal to take this ‘extortion money’ is a tight slap on the face of the MNS and the BJP. “The question is who will now benefit from this extortion racket? Is it for MNS’ election funding or for BJP,” he asked.
Ally Shiv Sena too targeted the BJP. “Our Army has self-respect. It doesn’t need ransom money,” said Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik criticised the CM for brokering a ‘settlement’ that insulted the country’s martyrs.
The MNS had threatened to stall the release of Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil to protest against the presence of Pakistani actor Fawad Khan in it.
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