After staying away from the public for months after his release from prison, Bollywood actor and 1993 serial blast convict Sanjay Dutt was recently spotted at an event organised by the BJP. It was held at a Mumbai suburb, Dindoshi, on Maharashtra Day. His presence surprised many in the political circle.
The event was organised by Mohit Kamboj, BJP’s youth wing leader, where Sanjay Dutt and others made an appeal to the local residents to elect the said leader in the next assembly elections.
This gave rise to many critical comments from sections in the opposition Congress. The 56-year-old actor’s family has always been in close association with Congress. Finding fault with the BJP for inviting Dutt to the function, a local Congress leader said, “This is a classic case of anti-nationalism, which is not new to the saffron party”.
“It is nothing bizarre. Giving and taking protection from such elements has been in the DNA of the party. This had to happen one day,” said Nizamuddin Raeen, spokesperson of the Mumbai Congress.
As ironic as it seems, BJP was pretty critical of repeated paroles and furloughs granted to Sanjay Dutt when he was serving the sentence at Yerwada Jail in Pune. Dutt, who was granted remission and released in February, donned an orange Maharashtrian ‘pagdi’, spoke in ‘filmi’ style and pledged to do everything for his friend Kamboj.
The critics also recalled the long association of Sanjay’s father Sunil Dutt and sister Priya Dutt with the Congress, both of whom were elected to the Lok Sabha on party tickets.
“Dutt’s parents Sunil Dutt, mother Nargis Dutt and sister Priya Dutt have been staunch Congress loyalists who stood by the party through all odds, but why and under what circumstances, Sanjay Dutt shifted his loyalty, only he knows,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said.
Hoping to play down the issue Mumbai BJP Chief Ashish Shelar said that the invitation was personal and not political.