LUCKNOW / UNCHAHAR: Megastar Amitabh Bachchan found himself dragged into the political slugfest of poll-bound Uttar Pradesh when Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav urged him not to advertise for donkeys of Gujarat.
Big B, as brand ambassador for Gujarat, has been showcasing the Indian wild ass sanctuary in the Rann of Kutch.
“Ek gadhe ka vigyapan aata hai, main iss sadi ke sabse bade mahanayak se kahunga ke ab aap Gujarat ke gadhon ka prachar mat kariye (There’s an ad on TV which shows donkeys. I appeal to the century’s biggest star to please stop promoting the donkeys of Gujarat),” Akhilesh said, referring to Amitabh Bachchan while addressing a public meeting in Unchahar (Rae Bareli).
“Gujarat ke log gadho ke prachar karwa rahe hain, aur hum par aarop laga rahe hain ki hum kewal kabristan aur sirf unke (indirectly referring to the minority community) liye kaam kiya hai,” (People from Gujarat are getting ad campaigns done on donkeys and accusing me of working only for graveyards,” Akhilesh said.
Rubbing in the point, the UP CM also read out Big B’s voice-over in the ad campaign where he invites people to visit the wild ass sanctuary the next time they plan their holidays. “What will happen if donkeys also start getting advertised?” the UP CM asked mockingly.
Akhilesh also took on Modi for his much-publicised Independence Day speech from the Red Fort in which he talked about the electrification of a village in Mathura. “Jab jaanch karwayi to pata chala ki tees saal pahle hi us gaon mein vidhyutikaran ho chuka hai (A probe revealed that the village had been electrified 30 years ago),” he said.
Taking a jibe at the PM’s statement that he had contested the 2014 elections from Varanasi because “Ganga Maiyya” had called him, Akhilesh narrated an instance when on the appeal of a BJP MLA, he had directed the authorities to ensure round-the-clock power supply in the holy city. “And, they are talking about power supply on Eid and Diwali,” he added.
Aware that the ‘donkey’ remark could unleash a political storm, the Samajwadi Party rushed to defend the CM. SP spokesperson Udayveer Singh said, “The Prime Minister has been saying that UP is number one in loot, rape and crime. The CM has only said that even the donkeys of Gujarat are being glorified,” he said, finding nothing wrong in Akhilesh’s comment.