A major row has erupted in Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance after an actor-turned-MP played the role of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse.
MVA constituent, Nationalist Congress Party’s Shirur MP and actor Dr Amol Kolhe donned the garb and grabbed the gun of Godse in the upcoming film, “Why I killed Gandhi”.
The film is due for release on an OTT platform on January 30 – the 74th anniversary of Gandhiji’s assassination – and just six months before the Platinum of Indian Independence.
While the Congress has strongly opposed the upcoming web film, there is a mixed reaction within the NCP, while the Shiv Sena has adopted a neutral stance so far.
State Congress President Nana Patole hit out at what he terms “attempts to support the assassination of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and to exalt the act” by certain sections of society.
“Dr Kolhe is an artiste but he is now a MP and is expected to behave more responsibly. It is unfortunate that he is abusing his freedom as an artiste to willy-nilly support the assassination of Gandhiji,” he said.
Patole warned that the Congress would not permit the release of the film as it would send a wrong message to the masses.
NCP President Sharad Pawar has backed Kolhe, saying he had informed the party about this role before he joined and has never supported the ideology of Godse.
“Dr Kolhe’s role should be seen as an actor only – If a person plays the role of Ravana in a cinema, he does not become Ravana himself,” the NCP supremo said, chiding protests from various quarters, both inhouse and outside.
Maintaining a neutral stance, Shiv Sena leader Kishore Tiwari said it is unfortunate that a controversy has been sparked now over a film role essayed in 2017, besides creating tensions among the MVA allies.
NCP national spokesperson and Minister Nawab Malik pointed out that Kolhe had played the role five years ago, long before he joined the NCP in February 2019, and has never propagated Godse’s ideology.
However, his senior party colleague and Housing Minister Dr Jitendra Awhad has raised cudgels against Kolhe’s portrayal as Godse and said the film must be boycotted.
Congress Minister Balasaheb Thorat said artistes must be given the freedom of creative choices but they must ensure that they unwittingly don’t end up glorifying a certain ideology through their roles.
On his part, Kolhe has made it clear in several media statements that he treated the role professionally, and he doesn’t support Godse or hate Gandhiji.
Kolhe is best known for his role as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the teleserial “Raja Shivchhatrapati” and also as Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj in the television series “Swarajyarakshak Sambhaji”.
Awhad added that he had opposed all “anti-Gandhi” films on ideological grounds.
“When an actor plays a particular character then he gets into the mind of that character and becomes the character without which he cannot be an actor,” he claimed.
Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party state President Chandrakant Patil dismissed the MVA bickerings saying there’s nothing wrong if Kolhe has played the role of Godse.
Yogi government empowering women through its schemes
The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is engaged in empowering urban and rural women through its schemes.
According to the government spokesman, under the National Rural Livelihood Mission in Uttar Pradesh, women of self-help groups (SHG) are being given free sewing training and under the Mission Shakti Abhiyan, women’s special protection teams are working to sensitise women and daughters.
Awareness campaigns are being conducted by police stations in different districts of the state. Under this, women and girls are being made aware of women’s self-reliance and empowerment.
The spokesman said that the women of self-help groups were given free training by Usha Sewing School. They are also marketing the stitched clothes. Women are being given training in different phases by the department. Till now 300 women have been given free training.
Hardik Patel hints at joining BJP next week
Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener and former Congress working president Hardik Patel will be joining BJP either on May 30 or May 31 in Gandhinagar. He gave the hint on Friday in Ahmedabad and even hinted at contesting elections.
Patel in a programme on a TV channel has hinted that he is joining the BJP, and the party will decide from which constituency he will contest the assembly elections. He also said that he is going to lead an Ekta Yatra from Somnath temple to the Statue of Unity.
It will be a grand show of Hardik Patel joining the BJP, party sources said.
He was given two options on how would he like to join BJP, in presence of National President in New Delhi, or in presence of Gujarat BJP in-charge Bhupender Yadav or B.L. Santhosh in Gandhinagar. He has selected the second option. Hardik and the BJP are planning to address a large gathering on the day, sources said.
Hardik resigned from the Congress as working president as well as primary member of the party on May 18. Since then speculations were rife that he will join the BJP. A day later, at the press conference, he had told the media that he will announce his decision on Friday.
Since the day Hardik resigned from Congress, he has been attacking the party, saying the party is anti-Patidar and anti- Gujarat. He said that even the party national leaders’ action is anti-Gujarat.
Hardik Patel has been particularly targeting Gujarat Congress incharge Raghu Sharma and former GPCC president Bharatsinh Solanki. He said these leaders are not respecting people’s sentiments.
TDP Mahanadu: Chandrababu Naidu gives ‘Quit Jagan, save Andhra Pradesh’ slogan
Telugu Desam Party’s annual conclave Mahanadu began here on Friday with the party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu giving a call “Quit Jagan, save Andhra Pradesh”.
Addressing the inaugural session of the two-day conclave, the former chief minister termed Y. S. Jaga Mohan Reddy-led government a “curse” and called upon people to throw it out of power.
Setting the tone for deliberations, Naidu launched a bitter attack on YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) for its “misrule” and the “havoc” it created by letting loose “repression” during the last three years.
He called the YSRCP government a rule by “maniacs, liars and corrupt criminals”. The TDP chief said with maniacs in power, the state has lost its honour and dignity.
He described Jagan Mohan Reddy as an “inefficient leader” who has been presiding over a rule by maniacs, liars and hardcore corrupt criminals.
The TDP chief asserted that if Jagan Reddy would not quit politics, AP would not see good and happy days again. All sections should unitedly raise the slogan of “Quit Jagan” so as to save Andhra Pradesh from future destruction, he said.
He alleged that the Jagan government is crushing people with its betrayal in the name of welfare, all-round looting and unbearable taxes. He said the YSRCP government made the state bankrupt with Rs 8 lakh crore debts.
Naidu alleged that YSRCP is inefficient to rule the state and hence it was using police to book false cases against those questioning its misrule. He appealed to all police personnel from constable to Director General of Police not to become tools in the hands of maniacs.
With the party holding its Mahanadu after a gap of three years, Naidu through his speech tried to lift the spirits of the party cadres.
Naidu urged party cadres to continue working the same spirit for next two years and go to people with the slogan of “Quit Jagan, save Andhra Pradesh”.
Stating that TDP has a glorious history of 40 years, Naidu vowed to build young leadership to take the party forward over the next 40 years.
The TDP chief said the chief minister signed “fake MoUs” at Davos with the same companies that worked under the TDP rule. The agreement with Adani Data Centre was signed during the TDP rule but Jagan Reddy cancelled the same and signed a more or less similar MoU with that company at Davos now.
Over 12,000 TDP leaders from across the state are attending the conclave which will pass 17 resolutions on various subjects.
The TDP organises “Mahanadu” every year in May, coinciding with the birth anniversary of party founder and former chief minister N. T. Rama Rao.
After the TDP debacle in the 2019 elections, Mahanadu was not conducted. The annual conclave was conducted in a virtual mode in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The TDP completed its 40 years in March this year. It was on March 29, 1982 that N. T. Rama Rao, a popular Telugu actor, formed the TDP on the slogan of Telugu self-respect.
NTR, as he was popularly called, created a record of sorts by coming to power within nine months of forming the party.
He died in January 1996, a few months after his son-in-law Chandrababu Naidu led a revolt against him to become the chief minister of then undivided Andhra Pradesh. Naidu-led TDP to power in 1999 and remained chief minister till 2004, when Congress wrested the power.
After bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, TDP formed the first government in the residuary state. In 2019, the party lost power to YSRCP.
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