The presence of actor, Amitabh Bachchan, at a Maharashtra government function on Wednesday has widened the rift between the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
A section in the Maharashtra Congress is upset with the NCP for inviting the star.
The Congress’s national leadership justified the anger of its state leaders. “There is nothing personal against Amitabh, the actor. Congress is also not against Amitabh, the person. Our workers are angry that he has identified himself with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi,” said Congress media department head Janardan Dwivedi. Bachchan was appointed the brand ambassador of Gujarat last month.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan claimed he was unaware that Bachchan was coming. “Perhaps, I would not have attended the function had I known he would be present,” he said.
The Congress backed Chavan.
“The party is aware of whatever happened. The chief minister has given a clarification,” Dwivedi said.
Relations between the Bachchans and the Gandhis have been sour for years and have been strained further because of Bachchan’s association with Modi. Bachchan, however, clarified his ties with Modi. “Modi is political and I am not. But he is the constitutional head,” he told CNN-IBN. “I was asked by the government to promote tourism. If people think I should not do it because of Modi it is ridiculous.”
Bachchan is also close to expelled Samajwadi Party leader, Amar Singh. His wife, Jaya, is a Samajwadi Party Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha.
But the NCP has justified the invitation. “It was not a party event but an official function. So, there is nothing wrong if the invitation was extended to icons like Amitabhji and Sachin Tendulkar,” NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar told HT.