Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole has threatened to stop the screening and shooting of films by actors Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan if they refused to break their silence over the rising fuel prices in India under the Narendra Modi government. Patole’s comments came soon after the price of one-litre petrol breached Rs. 100 mark for the first time in India’s history.
Speaking to reporters, Patole reminded how both actors frequently tweeted against the hike in petroleum prices with sarcastic social media posts during the Congress-led UPA government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Maharashtra Congress chief said that two actors often mocked the Manmohan Singh government over petroleum prices even when the crude oil was at an all-time high in the international market.
“If they do not take a stand now on the injustice meted out by the Modi government, we will not let any films (screening) or shootings of Amitabh Bachchan or Akshay Kumar in Maharashtra,” the Congress leader was quoted by news agency PTI.
Patole said that both Akshay and Bachchan had crores of followers and were capable of influencing the minds of the ordinary public, adding that they should show the same level of swiftness in commenting about the fuel prices as was seen during the UPA government.
“They should now play the same role and protest against the central government’s anti-national policy, as they did during Manmohan Singh’s tenure,” Patole added.
One of Akshay’s tweet ( now deleted) on 27 February 2012 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.”
In another tweet (also deleted now) on 16 May 2011, the actor had written, “Couldn’t even get to my house at nite for all of Mumbai was queuing up for #petrol before the prices rocketed again.”
As for Bachchan, he had tweeted in Hindi on 26 May 2012, “Ramchandra had told Sita that one will buy cars using cash but will have to take loans to pay for petrol during kalyug (an era, according to the Hindu beliefs, when the world is in a state of moral decay).”
In another tweet, Bachchan had mockingly written highlighting how a customer wanted to buy petrol for just Rs. 2 so that he could sprinkle over his car to set it on fire because of his inability to afford the fuel.
The BJP, meanwhile, has come to the rescue of both the actors saying that the Congress leader had no right to force Bollywood celebrities to tweet against the Modi government.