Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday stepped up the attack on those returning awards by calling them “rabid anti-BJP elements” and stuck to his guns that their protest is a manufactured rebellion.
“Those returning awards are playing politics by other means. Follow their tweets and their stances on various social and political issues. You will find a lot of rabid anti-BJP elements in them,” Jaitley told reporters.
“I had already called it a manufactured rebellion. I stand by my phrase. And I think, the events as they are unfolding only indicate that kind of manufacturing is going on at faster speed,” the minister said when questioned about artists’ returning awards to protest against growing ‘intolerance’.
He also claimed that some of them had gone to Varanasi to campaign against Narendra Modi in the last general elections.
Stating that space of the Left has reduced, he claimed that those returning awards were in a way electioneering against the BJP in Bihar polls.
Rejecting the charge that an atmosphere of intolerance was prevailing in the country, he said there was normalcy in the country.
He condemned all the incidents being dubbed as examples of intolerance and called for strict action against those responsible for it.
The Union minister, however, said there was a disproportionate political reaction to the incidents taking place in the country and asked those returning awards if their conscience had pricked when corruption and scams to the tune of lakhs and crores of rupees were taking place during the Congress-led UPA rule.
On the students of the Film and Television Institute of India withdrawing agitation and resuming academic activities, Jaitley welcomed the move and said the government wanted to make FTII an institution of excellence.