"I invited Bachchan as he is an icon and the function
was also about an iconic structure of Mumbai. It is sad that
some vested interests are politicising the issue," Jaidutt
Kshirsagar, Maharashtra PWD (public undertakings) minister,
Soon after Ashok Chavan threw open the second
carriageway of the sealink, commissioned by Maharashtra State
Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), controversy erupted over
Bachchan's presence at the function, with some local
Congressmen smelling a conspiracy against the Gandhi family
with whom the Bachchans do not enjoy cordial ties they once
Defending the decision to invite the superstar,
Kshirsagar, who is the chairman of MSRDC, said the objective
behind inviting Bachchan and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was
that the presence of these icons would befit the stature of
the mega structure.
"We could not get confirmation from Tendulkar. We got
confirmation from Bachchan at the last moment. By then,
invitation cards had already been printed. So his name was not
there on the cards," the Minister said.
On the Chief Minister's statement that he was not
aware if Bachchan was invited, Kshirsagar said, "there was no
need to inform him as the department is headed by me."
Asked if MSRDC, which is nodal agency for many
big-ticket projects, would invite Bachchan for the launch of
any new projects, the Minister said, "why only Bachchan? We
will invite icons as our objective is to showcase the iconic
image of our superstructures.
"After the sealink function on Wednesday, Chavan had
indicated the unhappiness in the party over the invite to
Bachchan, a friend-turned-foe of the party, and exclusion of
some Congress leaders from the function organised by the PWD
Ministry headed by coalition partner NCP.
"Mumbai Congress president Kripashankar Singh has said
invitations were not given to them," Chavan had said.
Singh says he has briefed Congress high command on the
"insult" meted out by the coalition partner.
Mumbai: The man at the centre of
controversy over superstar Amitabh Bachchan's presence at the
function to inaugurate second phase of Worli-Bandra sealink
says the issue is being "politicised" by those having vested
First Published: Friday, March 26, 2010, 16:50