Lucknow: Mohsin Raza, Uttar Pradesh's Minister of State for Minority Welfare Muslim Waqf, on Wednesday levelled some serious allegations against the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government. Raza said that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state is threatening Bollywood through "underworld" channels.
Issuing a statement, Mohsin Raza claimed that the Maharashtra government is "acting under pressure" from the underworld and that such was evident from statements by state chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and veteran leaders like Sanjay Raut.
"It seems like there is some kind of a pressure on them," Raza said.
Maharashtra does not have a proper law-and-order framework, Raza alleged, claiming that people from the "underworld" were running the state government.
He further alleged that the Maharashtra government was "terrified" of the "enigmatic influence" of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and is therefore trying to hit out at the latter over his visit to Mumbai.
Ahead of Yogi's visit to the financial capital, ruling Congress in Maharashtra had alleged a conspiracy to snatch away the city's film city to UP, and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had vowed not to allow anybody to "forcibly" take away businesses.
For his part though, Yogi has said that Uttar Pradesh is not desirous of taking away the film business out of Mumbai, but it is an "open competition" and the one who gives the right atmosphere and security in which talent can work will get the investments.
"We are not snatching or hindering anyones investments," Adityanath has said, "No one can take anything along. It is not like a purse which gets taken away. This is an open competition. One who can give a safe atmosphere, better facilities - and especially social security - in which one can work without discrimination will get investments."
Supporting his chief minister's statement, Mohsin Raza said that Uttar Pradesh has a rich heritage of culture.
"There are sites of cultural heritage, like Mathura, Kashi, and Ayodhya. There are several filmmakers, directors, and artists who want to leave Mumbai and come to Uttar Pradesh instead, but they are being intimated via the underworld."
Notably, the public verbal spat between the states of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh over the development of a 'new' film city in Noida has gathered steam.
Yogi Adityanath met Bollywood personalities, including Akshay Kumar, Boney Kapoor, Subhash Ghai, Manmohan Shetty and Anand Pandit over the last two days as part of his visit to the financial capital.
The UP CM said the Noida film city will be located six km away from the upcoming international airport at Jewar and added this will be well connected with Delhi, Agra and Mathura.
Earlier in the day, Raut said it is not easy to shift Mumbai's Film City elsewhere even though attempts have been made for it.
Ahead of his Uttar Pradesh counterpart's visit to the financial capital, Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday warned he will not let anybody "forcibly" take businesses away from the state, adding Maharashtra is not "jealous" about someone's progress if it happens on the back of fair competition.
Of the many centres of film production across the country, Mumbai, host to the Hindi and Marathi film industry, is the largest.
Bollywood, as the industry is called, delivers a high amount of jobs and revenues and is a key component Mumbai's soft power.
(With inputs from agencies)