New Delhi: Veteran Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor on Wednesday revived the debate over changing the names of government buildings.
In a series of tweets, the actor questioned why government buildings and other assets should be named only after members of the Gandhi family, including former prime minister Indira Gandhi and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
“Change Gandhi family assets named by Congress. Bandra/Worli Sea Link to Lata Mangeshkar or JRD Tata link road. Baap ka maal samjh rakha tha? (Is it their ancestral property?)
“If roads in Delhi can be changed why not Congress assets/property ke naam? Was in Chandigarh wahan bhi (there also) Rajeev Gandhi assets? Socho? (Think) Why?
“We must name important assets of the country who have contributed to society. Har cheez Gandhi ke naam? (Why should everything be named after Gandhis?) I don’t agree. Sochna log! (Think people)," Kapoor tweeted on Tuesday.
His official Twitter handle is @chintskap with 1.07 million followers.
“Why Indira G (Gandhi) airport International ? Why not Mahatma Gandhi or Bhagat Singh Ambedkar or on my name Rishi Kapoor. As superficial! What say?," Kapoor added.
“Raj Kapoor has made India proud over the years all over even after his death. Certainly more than What has been perceived by politics," he said in another tweet.
Rishi Kapoor belongs to the Kapoor family of the Hindi film industry whose four generations have been in the acting line.
Kapoor, in the past too, has been vocal on a number of issues including the beef ban and environmental issues in Maharashtra.
Kapoor’s barbs on Tuesday at the Congress came the same day as Union minister V.K. Singh wrote a letter to urban development minister M. Venkaiah Naidu recommending that New Delhi’s Akbar Road be renamed after Maharana Pratap.
24, Akbar Road, is the headquarters of the Indian National Congress.
There is also a demand from a section of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders who want to change its name to Maharana Pratap Road. The controversy to rename Akbar Road began when Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar sent a proposal to the central government. “It’s not on my agenda," Naidu told NDTV on Wednesday.
“Rishi Kapoor as a private citizen has every right to express his views publicly on matters that are close to his heart but the truth is he has made use of extremely coarse language and is poorly researched. To make allegations against the Gandhi family relentlessly by certain public figure is in poor taste and totally baseless," said Sanjay Jha, Mumbai-based spokesperson of the Congress. “If you look at the construct of modern India, the role of former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi is significant and that they are being acknowledged should not be grudged," he said giving the example of Motilal Nehru’s ancestral house in Allahabad called “Anand Bhawan" which was eventually donated.
Kapoor’s tweets also suggested that film studios in Mumbai should be named after veteran actors like Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar or Ashok Kumar.
“Film City should be named Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Ashok Kumar ya (or) Amitabh Bachchan ke naam? Rajeev Gandhi udyog Kya hota hai? (What is Rajeev Gandhi udyog) Socho doston! (Think friends) Imagine. Mohamad Rafi, Mukesh, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar venues on their name like in our country. Just a suggestion," tweeted Kapoor.
“Rishi Kapoor is a responsible citizen and he has every right to give his suggestions," said Poonam Mahajan, national secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and member of Parliament (MP) from Mumbai North Central.
Political analysts feel that the debate started by Rishi Kapoor is a progressive thought, especially because it is coming from a person with a non-political background. “It is a progressive thought and a progressive trend. Many a political people are attacking now because public personalities think it is a fad to carry out these attacks," said Jai Mrug, Mumbai-based political analyst.