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Venkaiah and Parrikar slam ‘Mushkil’ deal

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The repercussions of the ‘deal’ between the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and the producers of the film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil involving a donation of Rs. five crore to the Army’s coffers to allow the film to be screened in Mumbai theatres continued to be felt in New Delhi. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had allegedly brokered the ‘deal’.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu termed it inappropriate and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar observed it was a gesture not appreciated by the Army. The statements by two senior Central Ministers are seen as attempts to insulate the Centre from widespread criticism in the wake of the “deal.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the Vth CII Big Picture Summit, Mr. Naidu said, “That was a wrong proposal. We don’t agree with it.” Mr. Naidu, however, clarified that the Maharashtra Chief Minister had taken the initiative to amicably resolve the problem through discussion. Mr. Fadnavis has also clarified that he was not a part of the monetary proposal that was made by some other party, Mr. Naidu told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.

Mr. Naidu’s statement was seen as insulating the Centre from any fallout from the ‘deal’ between MNS and the film producers in the presence of Mr. Fadnavis. A few days before the MNS’ proposal for a monetary deal to allow the film’s screening, Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured the producers that the film would be screened without any violence and all cinemas would be given 100 per cent police protection. Stressing that the matter was between “some party” and the “producer”, Mr. Naidu said the government did not “subscribe to that thinking at all and has no role to play.”

Mr. Parrikar expressed displeasure over the way Bollywood film-maker Karan Johar was forced to donate Rs. 5 crore to the Army welfare fund. “It is basically a voluntary donation and not done by compulsion. We don’t appreciate it,” Mr. Parrikar said.

The issue had generated strong criticism, with the military charging it was being used for political mileage. While there is a welfare fund, the Army had recently set up a “battle casualty fund” after repeated requests from the public to donate to the kin of soldiers killed in the line of duty.

Mr. Parrikar also said the Ministry would formulate a scheme where every shaheed would get equal benefit. “The scheme will be managed by the MoD with assistance from the concerned Adjutant General’s branch,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 10:29:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Venkaiah-and-Parrikar-slam-%E2%80%98Mushkil%E2%80%99-deal/article16081690.ece

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