Deepika Padukone’s visit to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Tuesday — in solidarity with the students injured in Sunday’s attack in the campus — has further polarised social media. Practically, it’s like you are either with Padukone or against her: There is no middle path. And the list of those with extreme viewpoints includes senior government functionaries, some of whom lashed out at the actor a day later. "A country where Kanhaiya claims to be a student, Deepika is a governance expert and Anurag teaches civilisation values," tweeted Anuj Gupta, officer on special duty to Union minister Piyush Goyal. Goyal, incidentally, was instrumental in organising a meeting of Bollywood celebs to rake up support for the Citizenship Amendment Act. It didn’t take long for the internet trolls to take a cue and get all riled up, calling for a boycott of her upcoming movie Chhapaak. To back their claims, they had cancelled their tickets to the film, which releases on Friday, and many social media users (including some followed by PM Modi) posted screenshots. However, it did not take the Twitter users long to figure out that all the shots were of tickets from the same show and seats at the same movie theatre in Vadodara.
Resuming a fight
It hasn’t been long that a video clip of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Jharkhand MLA C P Singh compelling a fellow MLA from the Congress, Irfan Ansari, to chant “Jai Shree Ram” outside the Assembly building went viral. On Wednesday, the concluding day of the inaugural session of the newly constituted Assembly, the two were part of a stormy argument as the scene shifted to inside the House. Irfan fired the first salvo this time when he blamed BJP workers for the infamous Tabrez Ansari lynching during the party’s rule. At this, Singh asked him to apologise and the Speaker, too, asked him to express regret. Irfan refused and he said that he had not defamed the party or the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. The matter escalated when the BJP MLA incensed Irfan further by questioning his “status” and asked him as to what would be the latter’s reaction if someone called him a terrorist. Matters threatened to deteriorate further when other members stepped in and calmed them down.
BJP’s CAA ‘padyatra’
Even as the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests continue to make headlines and drawing in protesters from all walks of life, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has geared up to counter the narrative with a "padyatra" in Uttar Pradesh. Starting Wednesday, top party leaders including the two UP deputy chief ministers — Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma — as well as state BJP unit president Swantra Dev Singh apart from other senior cabinet ministers would hit the street in different districts. They will interact with the common man and “expose” the agenda of the Opposition. The "padyatra" programme would continue till January 14 and would also comprise public meetings at the respective places. A few Union cabinet ministers would also participate in the programme in UP.