January 6, 2020 1:40:01 am
THE Narendra Modi government held a private meeting with Bollywood personalities at a five-star hotel in Mumbai on Sunday evening, followed by a “scrumptious dinner”, as part of its efforts to bolster support for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
An invite was sent by producer and BJP supporter Mahavir Jain to Bollywood actors and filmmakers for “an interactive meeting” with Union Minister of Railways Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and BJP national vice-president Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda.
Among the Bollywood personalities who came for the meeting were Anu Malik, Rahul Rawail, Ritesh Sidhwani, Prasoon Joshi, Kunal Kohli, Roop Kumar Rathod, Bhushan Kumar, Ramesh Taurani, Abhishek Kapoor and Ranvir Shorey.
Invites were known to have been sent to Jackie Shroff, Raveena Tandon, Rajkumar Hirani, Boney Kapoor, Madhur Bhandarkar, Suniel Shetty, Prahlad Kakkar, actors Vicky Kaushal, Ayushmann Khurana as well as Richa Chadda and Kabir Khan. Like the Akhtars, Khan and Chadda have been vocal in their support for students’ protests against CAA.
The invite read: “We request participation of all rational thoughts and different points of view pertaining to the Citizenship Amendment Act. We strongly believe in a healthy discussion around all the possible dimensions of the issue. Your inputs will enlighten the discussion. It will be followed by a scrumptious dinner.”
Around 50 people gathered outside the hotel in Santa Cruz to protest against CAA, holding placards and singing songs such as Hum Dekhenge. The Mumbai Police kept a strict vigil, with no press allowed inside and hotel authorities closing off the lobby.
Mahavir Jain was the man behind the well-publicised ‘Bollywood selfie’ with Modi that took place a day before Uri released in theatres, almost exactly a year ago. “Guests have been invited from the film and TV world, like Javed Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar, Dia Mirza, Ritesh Sidhwani. The idea is to have a positive meeting, and start a dialogue,” shared an industry insider on the condition of anonymity.
However, while Jain was the face of the event, all questions regarding it were referred to BJP Mumbai Pradesh vice-president Hitesh Jain. The latter said, “As part of an outreach programme, we (the BJP) are reaching out to all segments of society to explain the history and rationale of CAA and answer any questions people may have. This was a closed-door meeting.”— with ENS, New Delhi
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