NEW DELHI: Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan these days is busy promoting his upcoming film Madaari. As part of the promotions, he had met some political leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav earlier. Later on Twitter, he asked Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi, and Narendra Modi to meet him and help him in promoting his movie.
But while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi agreed to meet him and promote his movie, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was non-committal. Both Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi asked Irrfan Khan to meet them in person, while the office of the Prime Minister asked the actor to send a letter.
The Prime Minister’s Office claimed that Narendra Modi was busy with the upcoming monsoon session so an immediate meeting was not possible. This was in stark contrast with request for a meeting being accepted immediately by the Delhi Chief Minister.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) immediately pointed out this difference and claimed that this was a case of religious discrimination by the Prime Minister.
“Such behavior by the Prime Minister is shameful and raises questions on his commitment to secularism,” AAP leader Ashutosh said. “When a very busy and hard working man like Arvind Kejriwal can take time out to meet a Muslim actor, why is Modi not doing the same?”
When asked if it was the job of a Chief Minister to promote a movie, Ashutosh said that the job of a Chief Minister was to take care of everyone, which included taking care of actors and movie goers.
“Questioning the judgment and wisdom of Arvind Kejriwal is like questioning the beauty of Taj Mahal,” Ashutosh said. “Arvind Kejriwal is an expert on arts, and he understands movies, unlike Modi who can’t understand any art form.”
Many experts too agree that the response by the Prime Minister’s Office was not helpful in maintaining the secular fabric of India.
“When there are communal tensions in the country due to killings of innocent Muslims in Kashmir, Narendra Modi shouldn’t have rejected the request of a Muslim. It will negatively impact communal harmony in the country,” neutral analyst Abhay Kumar Dubey said.
BJP refused to react when Junta Ka Reporter asked its leaders if Narendra Modi’s refusal to meet Irrfan Khan was due to the Bollywood actor’s religion. Their silence has only given strength to such rumors and it seems that the ruling party has not dropped its communal agenda from governance.