Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, lashed out at the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) on Monday after state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh ordered a probe into the tweets done by celebrities including Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar, Akshay Kumar, Saina Nehwal, and others on the ongoing farmers' protest.
Fadnavis said the move by the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led government is "disgusting & highly deplorable". "Where is your Marathi Pride now? Where is your Maharashtra Dharma? We will never find such ‘ratnas’ (gems) in entire Nation who order probe against BharatRatnas who always stand strong in one voice for our Nation," he added.
The former Chief Minister said the "MVA has lost all its senses". "MVA should feel ashamed while using the word ‘probe’ for BharatRatnas. Actually, now it seems necessary to probe the mental state & stability of the ones who made such demand & of people who ordered probe against our BharatRatnas," he wrote in a follow-up tweet.
Earlier in the day, Deshmukh termed the "similar" tweets a "serious" matter and ordered the Intelligence Department to go into the background of the tweets.
The development came after Maharashtra Congress Spokesperson Sachin Sawant and other leaders lodged a complaint, demanding to know if "these celebs are under any kind of pressure to post tweets in support of the BJP-led government at the Centre".
After international pop star Rihanna and environmental activist Greta Thunberg's posts on the farmers' protest in India, many Indian celebrities like Bollywood actors and sportspersons, including cricketers, had called for unity through tweets.
Sawant contended that these tweets were a "coordinated effort" as many of them were similarly worded, posted around the same time with common hashtags, which raised suspicions as to whether they were posted under some external pressure.
The celebs used similar hashtags like #IndiaTogether, #IndiaAgainstPropagada to counter the tweets posted by foreign celebs, who came out in support of the Indian peasantry.
"Reactions on the farmers protest are coming from across the world and many celebrities have reacted. But you have a question about the timing of these tweets and whether these were made under pressures. The tweets by Akshay Kumar and Saina Nehwal look similar," Deshmukh said.
Deshmukh pointed out that there was not even a single word that was different in some of the tweets, which was a serious matter.
(With IANS inputs)