Mumbai: The appearance of Amitabh Bachchan at the inauguration of the second carriageway of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai on Wednesday has sparked a major row.
Amitabh was chief guest at the opening of the second carriageway but his presence at the function has now become a battle on whether he was invited or not.
Despite public ads put out on Wednesday morning in all Mumbai papers clearly stating that Big B was going to be present at the inauguration Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has been claiming that he was unaware that the Bollywood superstar was invited.
"I was unaware he was going to be invited. As he represents a brand ambassador for some other state, there has been some discontent about it," said Chavan.
Officially the problem seems to be Amitabh's association with Narendra Modi after he had recently accepted to be the brand ambassador of Gujarat.
But questions are also being raised about whether the Maharashtra Congress had forgotten about Amitabh's troublesome equation with Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
"My department and I had invited Amitabh for the inauguration of Sea Link new carriageway," said Maharashtra PWD Minister and MSRDC Chairman Jaydutta Kshirsagar.
On his blog Amitabh has come out strongly against all those criticising him for being brand ambassador of Gujarat.
"What would I be doing in Gujarat that could possibly be of adverse interest to the polity, politically. I would talk of the Somnath Temple, Gandhigram, the white sands of the Rann of Kutch, old civilizations of Harrappa, the Gir lions and their extinction close by and try to entice as many visitors I could to this glorious land. Where is the connect with the glorification of the present Government?" he wrote.
Clarifying its stand on the controversy, Congress said it's not against Amitabh the person but his association with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
"Some party workers are angry with calling Amitabh. It's not a personal problem with Amitabh the actor, or person. Congress workers are angry with the fact that Modi and Amitabh shared the same stage. Congress is not against Amitabh the person," said Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi.
However, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal defended Amitabh's presence
"There is nothing wrong in Amitabh Bachchan being invited as a guest for Worli Sea link function," said Bhujbal.
Chavan has blamed the MSRDC which is headed by an NCP minister, so it could lead to a fresh controversy between Congress and NCP in the state.