New Delhi: BJP MP Manoj Tiwari on Friday called actor Aamir Khan a traitor during a parliamentary panel meeting on the replacement of the actor with Amitabh Bachchan, as the face of the Incredible India campaign.
Tiwari, who is also a popular Bhojpuri singer, said: “Aamir Khan is a traitor, he should be thrown out.” This led to protests from other members at the meeting of the Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture.
When contacted, Tiwari, the Lok Sabha MP from Northeast Delhi, told The Indian Express: “I cannot comment on what happened because what transpired in the committee meeting is confidential.”
Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi’s refusal to answer why Aamir had been replaced by Amitabh had already irked the Congress and CPM members before the incident.
However on Saturday, Tiwari denied he had called Aamir a traitor.
When the discussions started on Friday, Congress MP Kumari Selja referred to the media reports and said that MPs would like details. However, Zutshi said he did not have the details as the matter was not on the agenda. CPM’s Ritabrata Banerjee then referred to Khan’s claim that he had done the campaign free of cost, and said the government must clarify whether his replacement would take money.
Congress MP KC Venugopal also pointed out that the members have a right to know the details of the contract with Aamir. As the MPs insisted on getting details, Tiwari called Khan a traitor, said the source. Opposition MPs objected to the remark and said Tiwari had no right to decide who is a patriot and who is a traitor. Dissenting BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha was also present at the meeting, but he remained silent.
When the Opposition MPs refused to relent, Zutshi was provided 10 days to give his response to the committee.
MoS for Tourism Mahesh Sharma has so far maintained that Khan was not dropped as brand ambassador, but the contract with advertising agency McCann Worldgroup for the campaign had expired.
The Congress however, quickly slammed the BJP. Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed that the ‘BJP’s incredible intolerance is now out in the open’.