With the opposition parties in Maharashtra continuing to target Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for ‘brokering a deal’ between the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and the makers of ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, the BJP leader today defended the government’s role and denied mediating with Raj Thackeray to allow the release of Karan Johar’s film.
Speaking to an English daily, Fadnavis said that there was nothing wrong in holding talks with the MNS to seal a ‘compromise’ formula.
“If talks can be held with the Hurriyat and Naxals, what is wrong in talking with the MNS,” he told The Indian Express on Monday.
Questioning his opponents, he said, “What is the whole purpose of raising a hue and cry over my meeting Film Producers Guild and MNS to find an amicable solution to end the dispute over the film? Where is the question of my brokering a deal? Or where is the question of compromising on any principle?”
Fadnavis further said that his decision to intervene into the matter was in public interest.
“Is it not a good sign that the government has pulled the curtains down on the issue through discussion across the table? Can you overlook the general public mood which is all set to celebrate Diwali? If I had not intervened, wouldn’t I have been accused of keeping the tension brewing?” he said.
The CM also rubbished the allegations that he was a party to force the film producers to shell out Rs 5 crore to the Army Welfare Fund.
At the meeting, he said, Karan Johar who expressed his desire to make a contribution of Rs 5 crore to the welfare fund of Army.
“…I categorically said there should be no such compulsion. Yet, if you want to show your deshbhakti, there is the Army welfare relief fund where you can help,” Fadnavis said.
He also mentioned that deploying security forces at cinema halls was an option available with him to ensure peace, but this would have fuelled tension among people during Diwali.
“I believed why should I allow tension during the festival season when people and police want to enjoy Diwali,” he noted.
Opposition parties have been attacking Fadnavis for ‘brokering a deal’ between the MNS and the makers of ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’.
While the Congress called the meeting ‘unconstitutional’, the NCP said that the ‘settlement struck with the help of the CM was an insult to the Army’.
The MNS had on Saturday allowed the release of ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ but with a rider -- all the producers who employed Pakistani artists, must pay Rs 5 crore each into the Indian Army's Welfare Fund as an atonement.
The MNS’ decision followed Fadnavis' direct intervention in the matter. He had convened a meeting which was attended by Raj Thackeray, Karan Johar and Film and Television Producers Guild of India's President Mukesh Bhatt, among others at his official residence, Varsha, to resolve the imbroglio.
‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ has been in news for featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.