In a direct attack aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi Saturday asked him not to “demon-etise” Tamil pride by interfering in what is shown in theatres. Reacting to the Mersal row, Gandhi said cinema is a deep expression of Tamil culture and language. His comments come a day after the Tamil Nadu BJP unit objected to Tamil superstar Vijay’s Diwali release, Mersal, for “criticising” the Centre’s flagship schemes, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Digital India.
“Mr. Modi, Cinema is a deep expression of Tamil culture and language. Don’t try to demon-etise Tamil pride by interfering in Mersal,” Gandhi tweeted.
“Incorrect references have been made in ‘Mersal’ about GST (Goods and Service Tax)… celebrities should desist from registering wrong information among people,” BJP state unit president Tamilisai Sounderrajan was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. Tamil Nadu BJP leaders hit out at superstar ‘Joseph’ Vijay for GST swipe in movie
Mr. Modi, Cinema is a deep expression of Tamil culture and language. Don’t try to demon-etise Tamil pride by interfering in Mersal
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) October 21, 2017
Tamil Nadu BJP leader H Raja, who is also a national secretary of the party, had told The Indian Express on Friday, “Everyone has the right to criticise the BJP government on any medium. But the criticism should be based on facts.”
“I asked many of my friends in Singapore about Vijay’s claims in the movie. They all said that there is a medical premium imposed on people and that medical treatment is not free. Also, getting medical facilities is very difficult for Singapore’s people. So, it is a lie that they are trying to spread through the movie,” Raja added.
Earlier today, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram had mocked the party as well for targeting Vijay’s film, saying there will soon be a law to ensure only documentaries “praising” the government’s policies can be released. “BJP demands deletion of dialogues in ‘Mersal’. Imagine the consequences if ‘Parasakthi’ was released today,” the former finance minister had tweeted. “Notice to film makers: Law is coming, you can only make documentaries praising government’s policies.”
Former Union Minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal too criticsed BJP for targeting the Tamil-film ‘Mersal’. The leader attacked BJP on Twitter, saying the party had given us a new definition of free speech and they would now decide what is right or wrong for us. He also said that Vijay has every right to criticise GST, NDA government’s latest implementation in the tax regime.
BJP to decide what is wrong or right for us:a new definition of free speech.Vijay in Mersal has every right to criticise GST,Digital India.
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) October 21, 2017Subscriber Only Stories
In the film, popular comic actor Vadivelu in one scene shows a thief in Singapore his wallet and thanks “Digital India” for it being empty. In another scene, Vijay says that Singapore offers its citizens free healthcare while the GST rate is 7 per cent, but in India, GST is 28 per cent but residents do not receive the same facility.