He was answering a question about former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia using the phrase even as BJPs prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi faces Election Commission’s ire over it. “I would advise my friends in the BJP to keep in mind the actions of the chief minister during the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 before indulging in words like Khooni Panja. As for Vasundhara Raje Scindia,she herself has questions to answer for indiscretions committed during her tenure,” he said.
Though Tewari is in Goa for the inauguration of the 44th International Film Festival of India,Modi remained the dominant theme of his interaction. Responding to a question about IFFI being about Brand Goa,he repeated his Hitler innuendo,talking about similarities between “a certain gentleman a few decades ago who wanted to use the Berlin Olympics as a branding exercise” and the statement of another gentleman (Modi) about how 100 years of Indian cinema was a lost opportunity for building brand India.
He described the Anna Hazare-Arvind Kejriwal war of words as a sideshow which does not merit comment. “Its a guru-chela tiff that has shown that the chela is no less clever than the guru but the real question that this country faces is whether it is ready to have a government that snoops on its daughters,” Tewari said,wading more or less unprovoked into the topic of Narendra Modi.
He rubbished BJP defence about the girl having been “provided security” at her fathers request saying that the opposition party was trying to paint surveillance as security. But,he added,it is pointless to ask for Modis resignation as had he had the moral uprightness to take such decisions,he would have stepped down after 2002.
With BJP taking umbrage at the “stalking sahebzada remark,Tewari took to a popular Salman Khan number. “If they say shehzada they are raseela (connoisseur) and if we say sahebzada we have dheela (loose) character. Thats hardly fair,” said the minister.
Speaking on the occasion,I&B secretary Bimal Julka listed out projects undertaken by the ministry to celebrate Indian cinema including a Rs 6000 crore National Film Heritage Mission. However over the last few weeks an increasing number of Bollywood biggies including Lata Mangeshkar,Sanjay Leela Bhansali have come out in support of Modis prime ministerial aspirations. Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has been the brand ambassador of Modis state for some years now.
“Elections in this country are decided by the people not by celebrity endorsements. We will test the waters when the time comes. For the moment I would like to say that when it was their turn to test the waters,they had failed to secure the peoples mandate twice in 2004 and 2009,” Tewari said.
The other recurrent topic in Tewaris interaction remained questions about why the ministry chooses to renew the MoU for IFFI with Goa government annually rather than for longer periods. Tewari assured that IFFI is in Goa for good and would not leave unless “driven out” putting to rest speculations that political reasons may cut short the states ten year stint as the IFFI venue.