Maharashtra politics boils over Big B`s attending govt function
Differences have emerged between Congress & NCP over Amitabh Bachchan being a special guest at Mumbai sealink`s inauguration.
Mumbai: Amitabh Bachchan was today at the
centre of a controversy over his presence at a government
function here prompting Chief Minister Ashok Chavan to remark
that he would not have attended it if he had known that the
megastar, a brand ambassador for Gujarat, was there.
Differences emerged between alliance partners NCP and Congress as it was a programme organized by the former’s minister.
Bachchan, who attended the function here on Wednesday to
mark the inauguration of the second phase of the Bandra-Worli
sea link at the invitation of the PWD ministry headed by
Congress coalition partner NCP, said the controversy has been
With Mumbai Congressmen voicing their resentment over the
actor`s presence at the function where many of them were not
invited, Chavan who inaugurated the sealink, said, "He
(Bachchan) is the brand ambassador of another state. We will
like to promote our own state. Perhaps, I would not have
attended the function had I known that he would be present"
. Asked if it was a mistake to invite him to a function
where Bachchan was also invited, the Chief Minister had
yesterday said, "As it was a government function, adequate
care should have been taken about the invitations being sent".
Mumbai Congressmen are unhappy since Bachchan is being
seen as close to Narendra Modi and his relationship with the
Gandhi family has been strained.
Congress sought to back Chavan. "The party is aware of whatever has happened there. Chief
Minister of Maharashtra has already given a clarification.
Party workers are angry because Amitabh Bachchan has
identified himself with Narendra Modi," AICC general secretary
Janardan Dwivedi told reporters here.
NCP controls the Maharashtra State Road Development
Corporation (MSRDC), the implementing agency of the sea link.
Asked if it was a mistake to invite him to a function
where Bachchan was also invited, Chavan said, "As it was a
government function, adequate care should have been taken
about the invitations being sent".
However, Public Undertakings Minister Jaidutt Kshirsagar,
who is also MSRDC Chairman, justified the decision to invite
Bachchan, saying he is an "icon".
"Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar are icons and I thought it
fit that their presence was required at the inauguration of
this iconic bridge," he said.
On yesterday`s function, Big B said, "I had been invited
by the Minister in the Government to attend and so I went
Maharashtra Deputy CM and NCP strongman Chaggan Bhujbal stood by his minister’s decision to invite Bachchan, pointing to a divide in the alliance over the issue.
“Amitabh Bachchan is a great actor…he should be kept out of political controversies,” he said. Bhujbal further added that he was aware about the actor being there at the function and so did every one who present there.
He revealed that the Maharshtra CM and Bachchan may be present in another government function on Sunday.
NCP spokesperson Tauqir Khan had yesterday said the Congress should not create controversy over the issue.
Hitting out at his critics on his blog, he said no
politics is involved in his promoting tourism in the BJP-ruled
state. "You want to stop me from promoting tourism in a state
because you have reason to believe that there are political
connotations to the event. This is such rubbish!”
Writing on his blog, Bachchan said, "a fresh controversy
has been rapidly manufactured on my involvement... The media
has been hounding me since the event at the sea link has got
over, through incessant SMSes and the electronic (media) has
followed me even to the theatre where we were seeing Arshad`s
film". Actor Arshad Warsi`s film `Hum Tum Aur Ghost` will be
released this week.