Mumbai: Taking a dim view of the increasing number of artistes and writers returning their awards citing a "climate of intolerance" in the country, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday urged those leading this revolt to help the government with "constructive criticism."
"It is very sad that artistes are returning their awards. We respect them (as a government) a lot. They have started returning their awards after the Dadri incident, which I believe was very unfortunate and should not have taken place," Fadnavis said while speaking at 'IBN Lokmat' Conclave here.
"Artistes should understand that this incident happened in Uttar Pradesh which is not ruled by (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi ji. Law and order is a matter of state subject. The artistes are saying there is no tolerance left in the country now... I request them to do constructive criticism and show the government the way," he said.
Fadnavis said the society can never change if artistes merely return their awards.
"When there were (such) incidents in Congress or Communist ruled governments, artistes never spoke of returning their awards but are doing so when it is Modi's rule. If artistes keep returning their awards, nobody will be able to save this country," the CM said stopping short of outrightly defending the Central government.
Several writers, historians, scientists and filmmakers across the country are returning their decorations in the wake of episodes like Dadri lynching and murders of rationalists like MM Kalburgi and Narendra Dabholkar.
Yesterday, talking to reporters in Patna, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had stepped up attack on those returning awards by calling them "rabid anti-BJP elements" and stuck to his guns that their protest was a "manufactured rebellion".
"Those returning awards are playing politics by other means. Follow their tweets and their stances on various social and political issues. You will find a lot of rabid anti-BJP elements in them," he had said.
"I had already called it a manufactured rebellion. I stand by my phrase," he added.
Another Union Minister, Nitin Gadkari too had termed the return of awards by filmmakers and writers as "hypocrisy of the Leftists".
Eminent scientist G Madhavan Nair also disapproved of the move by scientists and writers by dubbing their action as a mere show. "Returning the award neither helps the government nor the individual," he had said.