Among those who played pivotal roles in pushing the BJP’s agenda to demonise the Congress party ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls were celebrities from Bollywood and literature. They did so either to safeguard their future financial dealings or purely for their ideological similarities.
Among those who were seen being vocal about the then UPA government were Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Vivek Agnihotri, Anupam Kher and Ashoke Pandit. Agnihotri, Kher and Pandit have been known for their support to the right-wing Hindutva ideology. Kumar and Bachchan’s role in pushing the BJP’s agenda bewildered many.
One of the topics that these celebrities often embarrassed the then UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh was the rising price of diesel and petrol in India. This despite the fact that crude oil price in international market was at an all time high, around $140 per barrel.
Amitabh Bachchan had famously tweeted, “Ptrol up Rs 75: Pump attendant- Kitne ka doon? Mumbaikar- ‘2-4 rupye ka car ke upar spray kar de bhai, jalana hai.”
Another famous tweet by Bachchan had read, “Lord Ram told Sita that an era will come when people will buy (expensive) cars with cash but will have to obtain bank loans to buy petrol.”
T 756 – ” रामचंद्र कह गए सिया से , ऐसा कलयुग आएगा ,
गाडी खरीदो गे cash से , और petrol loan से आएगा I “~ anon
— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) May 26, 2012
An otherwise apolitical Akshay Kumar too was quick to throw his weight behind the fake BJP narrative. His one tweet (now deleted) had read, “Guys, I think it’s time to clean up your bicycles and hit the road! As per sources, expecting another petrol price hike.”
On another occasion, Kumar had tweeted, “Couldn’t even get to my house at nite for all of Mumbai was queueing up for #petrol before the prices rocketed again.” He has not deleted this tweet, perhaps to avoid more embarrassment on social media.
These Bollywood characters have astonishingly been quiet on the rise in petrol and diesel prices under the Narendra Modi government. This despite the fact that Modi had won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on the promise that he will significantly bring down the petroleum prices and increase the value of Indian rupees against the dollar.
The Modi government has miserably failed on both fronts resulting in an all-time hike in the prices of petrol and diesel. The price of petrol per litre in Delhi on Monday under the dynamic pricing regime touched a record high of Rs 76.57, having — already on Sunday — beaten the previous high of Rs 76.06 in the city on September 14, 2013, when the crude oil in international market was way above $120 per barrel. Today the same is being sold in international market at $80 per barrel. Just imagine the cost per litre in the Indian market if the international prices were to reach the same level as it was during the UPA rule.
Diesel in the national capital on Monday went to its highest level of Rs 67.82 per litre.
It’s not surprising that icons like Bachchan and Kumar are facing widespread condemnation for their glaring hypocrisy. Journalist Swati Chaturvedi wrote, “Sickening now deaf and dumb.” Writer and columnist Ashok Swain wrote, “Modi’s luck runs out and old tweets haunt Bollywood’s Modi Bhakts!” Journalist Shivam Vij tagged Akshay Kumar to ask this, “Hello
@akshaykumar why have you deleted this old tweet of yours? At the rate we are going you’ll have to delete all political tweets before May 2014.”
Aside from these sane and civil reactions, social media platforms have been replete with incredibly insulting and profanity-laden responses for these Bollywood stars. As expected, the likes of Bachchan and Kumar have maintained a stoic silence till now.