Days after 600 theatre artistes urged the electorate to vote against the Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming general elections, 907 artistes and persons in art and literature have released a counter-appeal, asking the public to vote for the BJP.
In a statement put under the banner of ‘Nation First Collective,’ the signatories have asked their fellow citizens to elect the new government without any ‘pressure and prejudice’.
The 907 signatories include prominent names like Pandit Jasraj, singer Shankar Mahadevan, actress Koena Mitra, film actor and producer Rahul Roy and actor Vivek Oberoi, who is essaying the role of the PM in the controversial Modi biopic. The list also includes personalities from various fields of art, dance, music and literature including singer Anuradha Paudwal, Kannada director TS Nagabharana, instrumentalist Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and singer Wasifudfin Dagar The list is also signed by actor Alok Nath, who has been accused of sexual assault by writer Vinita Nanda last year.
Calling the present government a ‘Majboot Sarkar’, the signatories in the statement say, “We need to vote for the present government because challenges like terrorism are before all of us and we do not need a ‘Mazboor Sarkar,” in an apparent dig at Congress.
The statement further claims that the BJP government has delivered a ‘corruption-free good governance and development-oriented administration’ during the past five years.
“During this period, globally India has acquired greater respect. It’s our firm conviction that the continuance of government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the need of the hour,” the signatories add.
On April 6, over 600 theatre artistes from across the country had urged the electorate to vote for ‘equality and social justice, and to defeat the forces of darkness and barbarism’. A joint statement issued by them, targeting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) urged the voters to help ‘safeguard the Constitution and our syncretic, secular ethos’.
The signatories included Amol Palekar, Arundhati Nag, Astad Deboo, Arshia Sattar, Danish Husain, Girish Karnad, Naseeruddin Shah, MK Raina, Kavitha Lankesh, Konkona Sen Sharma, Lillette Dubey, Mallika Taneja and Navtej Johar.
The appeal described the coming general elections as the most critical in the history of independent India and requested voters to elect ‘love and compassion, for equality and social justice, and to defeat the forces of darkness and barbarism.’