Lashing out at those objecting to Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s presence at a government function in Mumbai, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has dubbed them as "Talibans of untouchability"

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has described as the “Talibans of untouchability” all those who have criticised actor Amitabh Bachchan and dragged him into controversy after he became the brand ambassador of the State to encourage tourism.

Mr. Modi wrote in his blog that these “Talibans of untouchability” had lost all their “sensibilities” in their pursuit of an “anti-Gujarat attitude.”

Cautioning Mr. Bachchan's critics, he added that he was unwilling to believe that these “Talibans' were unaware of the damage they were causing to the nation and society.

This is the first time that Mr. Modi has publicly come out in Mr. Bachchan's defence since the controversy began over his attending an official function of the Maharashtra government last week.

‘Love for Gujarat'

Asking his followers to take “inspiration” from Mr. Bachchan's “love for Gujarat” — for which he had chosen to become tourism ambassador despite facing a lot of criticism from many quarters — Mr. Modi said it was unfortunate that a “great artist with legendary humility and even taller achievements” had been dragged into the controversy.

Recalling Mahatma Gandhi's struggle to eliminate untouchability from society, Mr. Modi said Mr. Bachchan's critics, even while swearing by Gandhiji's name, were creating a new kind of vicious untouchability in the country's public life.

He said the “anti-Gujarat game plan” behind the Bachchan controversy “stands exposed like broad day light now.”

In a lighter vein, Mr. Modi said that soon these elements might begin advising the people not to eat salt; ban Amul butter and all its products; and ask the youth not to wear jeans only because all these were produced in Gujarat.

‘Difficult moments'

Mr. Modi also for the first time admitted that the nine and a half hours he spent on Saturday answering questions by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team were “difficult moments” for him.

He thanked his supporters for their “good feelings and concern” during “the difficult moments” of Saturday and prayed to God: “After this event, instil further strength in me.”