Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who has been facing flak for allowing Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Muskhil release, has defended the government’s role and denied that he had brokered any deal.
In an interview with The Indian Express, Fadnavis 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? If talks can be held with the Hurriyat and Naxals, what is wrong in talking with the MNS.”
Fadnavis said: “Is is 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?”
The Congress had demanded the resignation of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for “brokering” a truce between Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray and the makers of the film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. BJP’ally Shiv Sena also slammed the BJP for compromising the Army’s self-respect.
Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said the exhibition of films is guided not by the “goons” of any organisation but by the Cinematographic Act that permits screening after clearance by the Censor Board. He further stated that it was the duty of State governments to uphold the law and ensure that films that had the necessary official clearances could be screened, while maintaining law and order.
Reacting to criticism, Fadnavis denied that he was a party to forcing the film producers to shell out Rs 5 crore for the fund. “The Film Producers Guild approached me to discuss the problem with MNS. At the meeting I made it very clear that the government will not compromise on law and order. I cited the fact that my police force had cracked the whip against 12 MNS activists and would do the same if they took the law in their hands,” Fadnavis said.
“Deploying additional force at every theatre to ensure release of film was not a problem. But I believed why should I allow tension during the festival season when people and police want to enjoy Diwali,” Fadnavis told the English newspaper.