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Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, senior leader Chidambaram back Mersal, hit out at PM Narendra Modi and BJP

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and senior party leader P Chidambaram, on Saturday, hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP over the raging controversy triggered by the party’s Tamil Nadu unit demanding cuts in actor Vijay- starrer “Mersal”, which has apparently mocked the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime rolled out earlier this year.

The controversy over Mersal’s GST scenes had intensified on Friday after Union minister of state for finance, Pon Radhakrishnan demanded removal of dialogues in the flick which he termed as “untruths” about the GST regime which was rolled out amid much fanfare by PM Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley on July 1.

“Mr Modi, Cinema is a deep expression of Tamil culture and language. Don’t try to demon-etise Tamil pride by interfering in Mersal,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet which was retweeted by Chidambaram.

Tamil Nadu BJP leaders, including state chief Tamilisai Soundararajan and national secretary H Raja, have strongly opposed references to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the just-released Tamil movie and claimed dialogues in it were “highly inappropriate”.

Besides retweeting the Congress vice president’s remarks, Chidambaram also posted his own critique of the BJP’s purported attempts to force the filmmakers of Mersal to delete the scenes that mock GST.

Parasakthi, the debut film of Tamil film icon Sivaji Ganesan had released in 1952 and Chidambaram’s reference to it vis-à-vis the controversy over Mersal is perhaps because the movie’s dialogues, written by DMK chief M Karunanidhi who was then a budding leader in the party and a screen writer, espoused reformist and egalitarian ideals.

Replying to Chidambaram’s tweet, Tamil Nadu BJP leader and national secretary H Raja said if that were to happen, people would not allow the government to run temples by quoting a popular dialogue from it.

Raja was reiterating the stand of the BJP and right-wing outfits that the state government should stop administering temples and hand them over to devotees. The BJP leader also claimed that the film exposed Vijay’s (the lead actor of Mersal) “hatred” for Modi.

Soundrajan, who has been opposing the references to the GST, in a tweet said, “MERSAL ridicules Dedicated Doctors disheartened/ambulance drivers shown corrupt/doctors should take 5rupees while the actor gets crores?? (sic)”.

(With agency inputs)

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