Mumbai: On a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in the Rajya Sabha the country needs to be saved from 'foreign destructive ideology', closer home, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh ordered an inquiry into the tweets of Bollywood stars and sportspersons who had used the social media platform to express their opinion, after the Ministry of External Affairs responded to popstar Rihanna on her tweet about the farmers’ protest.
"Bharat Ratna recipients are honoured by all of us. But which BJP leaders put pressure on them? The Congress party has demanded an inquiry into that leader,’’ tweeted Deshmukh.
He said at a virtual meeting a Congress delegation sought an investigation to find out if the celebrities had been under pressure from the BJP. "Reactions are coming in from across celebrities across the world. Celebrities like Rihanna responded. Thereafter, many celebrities, including Sachin Tendulkar, Akshay Kumar and legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, also tweeted. But one does question the timing of the tweets and if it was done due to pressure; the tweets by Akshay Kumar and Saina Nehwal are similar,’’ he said.
"Whatever objection you have raised, our intelligence agency will probe,’’ said Deshmukh.
The celebrities had rallied around the government on social media, using the hashtags #IndiaTogether and #IndiaAgainstPropaganda, following tweets by pop singer Rihanna and climate activist Greta Thunberg backing farmers.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Sachin Sawant, who participated in the virtual meeting, said, “There was a series of tweets after MEA's response to Rihanna's tweet. If a person, be it a celebrity, opines on their own, it's fine but there's a scope for suspicion that the BJP could be behind this. We have spotted common words like 'amicable' in these tweets.".
Sawant lashed out at Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and tweeted, "The BJP is trying to deliberately twist the issue. We have demanded a probe of the BJP, not the celebrities. Why is the BJP mum on why the tweets by Akshay Kumar and Saina Nehwal match? Suniel Shetty tags his tweet to a BJP office-bearer? Why is the BJP scared of the probe?"
In another tweet, he said, "Why are the drafts of most of the tweets similar and have the same word, 'amicable'? There is a great possibility that some celebrities may have been arm-twisted by the BJP. Those need to be given protection. As for those who have opined on their own, their opinion must be respected.’’