When the members of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Friday sought an explanation from the Tourism Secretary as to why actor Aamir Khan was discontinued as brand ambassador for Incredible India, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari's response has sparked a fresh political debate.
According to media reports, Tiwari, who is also a popular Bengali film actor, has reportedly called Aamir “a traitor” adding that “he should be no longer head the Incredible India camping.”
Tiwari's comments caused uproar at the meeting held by members of Standing Committee on tourism, said reports.
The BJP MP has denied calling the actor a “traitor”.
“Never used the word "deshdrohi" for Aamir Khan, if a newspaper has printed it I'll send them a notice,” Manoj Tiwari told ANI.
However, Tiwari has said that Aamir should not be the face of Incredible India in the view of his comments, which he said was against the campaign.
“Anyone who is the face of Incredible India, should not say that India is not a place to live in,” Tiwari was quoted by ANI as saying.
Tiwari's comments has provided ammunition to the Opposition leaders. The Congress leaders attacked the Centre over the issue of intolerance in the country again.
“BJP's intolerance marches unabated & unchecked. Now, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari calls Aamir Khan traitor. Will Modiji define 'Nationalism' for us?,” Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.
“Manoj Tewari's statement is proof that BJP/RSS has talent deficit.There is not one Gajendra Chauhan but too many in SANGH PARIWAR.I pity,” tweeted AAP leader Ashutosh.
“Aamir Kahn is a national treasure.Any vicious/communal attack on him by RSS/BJP will come back to haunt them,” he added.
Aamir's services in the Incredible India campaign was discontinued by the Centre on Thursday and he was replaced by Bollywood Megastar Amitabh Bachchan. Speculations are rife that Aamir was removed from the campaign for his comments on intolerance.
Aamir came under heavy fire from different quarters following his comments on alleged growing intolerance in India. He said his star wife Kiran fears for life of her kin in light of a spate of communal incidents and she suggested that they should probably leave the country.
Tourism Minister Mahesh , meanwhile, rubbished the reports that the government removed the actor for his controversial comments.
"It was the (private) agency which has hired him. Since the contract with the agency is no more, automatically the arrangement with the actor no longer exists," said Sharma.