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Maharashtra Congress leader says will probe if celebrities forced to tweet on Rihanna, Nadda hits back

Mentioning sportspersons Sachin Tendulkar and Saina Nehwal and Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty, Maharashtra Congress general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant said their posts looked suspicious with regard to timing.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 8, 2021 7:48:55 pm
Rihanna, farmers protest, Sachin SawantMaharashtra Congress general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant. (Photo: File)

The Maharashtra government has said it will probe if Bollywood stars and sportspersons were forced to issue similar tweets after the Ministry of External Affairs responded to pop star Rihanna on her comment on the farmers’ protest.

Many celebrities, including Sachin Tendulkar, Akshay Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar, had rallied around the government on social media using hashtags #IndiaTogether and #IndiaAgainstPropaganda following tweets backing farmers by pop singer Rihanna and climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Addressing a press conference, Congress leader Sachin Sawant expressed suspicions that the BJP government could be behind the series of tweets by the Indian celebrities. Mentioning sportspersons Sachin Tendulkar and Saina Nehwal and Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty, Sawant said the posts looked suspicious with regard to its timing and that these celebrities could have been pressured by the Modi government.

“There was a series of tweets after MEA’s response to Rihanna’s tweet. If a person opines on their own, it’s fine but there’s scope of suspicion that BJP could be behind this…Spoke to Home Minister Deshmukh. He has given orders to the Intelligence department to probe,” said Maharashtra Congress general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant.

BJP president J P Nadda criticised the Maharashtra government over this, saying it had a unique model of governance that hails “noises of anarchy” from overseas but “harasses” patriotic Indians who stand for the nation. “MVA in Maharashtra has a unique model of governance – hail noises of anarchy from overseas who show India in poor light but harass patriotic Indians who stand for the nation. It is difficult to decide what is more flawed: their priorities or their mindset?” Nadda said.

Sawant had said that the celebrities have the right to personal opinion, but if they are under any kind of pressure, then the issue should be probed.

“There is a similar pattern in these tweets by celebrities, including Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, and sportspersons Sachin Tendulkar and Saina Nehwal. This shows that there was some communication between the celebrities and the ruling party leaders. There needs to be an investigation to check if these national heroes were pressurised by the BJP for such advocacy on the social media. If so, these celebrities need to be given more protection,” he said.

Recently, NCP leader Sharad Pawar had asked Tendulkar to be more careful while speaking on farmers’ issues. “I would suggest to Sachin (Tendulkar) that he should be careful while speaking on the issues related to other fields,” Pawar told reporters.

The tweets from these celebrities came after the MEA termed the social media hashtags and comments by foreign entities as “neither accurate nor responsible”.

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