NEW DELHI :
The dinner on Sunday night with Bollywood celebrities may have grabbed more than its share of eyeballs but spokespersons of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) say the meeting was only part of the broader outreach campaign the party plans to carry out to educate all segments of the society about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
“We are reaching out to all the segments of the society to explain the history and rationale of CAA and answer any questions people may have. This was a closed door meeting. We have started our outreach campaign and various leaders are reaching out to different sections of the society in different parts of India," said Hitesh Jain, vice-president, Mumbai BJP, adding that the party has been meeting professionals from all walks of life over the past few days, be it lawyers or chartered accountants and the outreach is definitely not restricted to film celebrities.
“Anyone who has questions about CAA is welcome to interact with us. To keep raising awareness about CAA, we will keep having many more programmes and interactive meetings," Jain added.
BJP launched a nationwide door-to-door campaign to garner support for CAA on 5 January. The objective of the on-ground campaign, launched in the national capital by home minister Amit Shah, is to reach out to 30 million families across cities, busting myths and seeking support for the Act. Earlier, BJP had launched a toll-free number asking citizens to extend their support under the #IndiaSupportsCAA campaign by simply giving a missed call to the mentioned number.
Invitation to the interactive meeting was sent to film celebrities on behalf of Minister of Railways and Commerce, Piyush Goyal and National Vice President of BJP, Baijayant Jay Panda. Jain said about 100 people turned up for the gathering though he didn’t elaborate on how the party expected film celebrities to contribute to raising awareness about CAA.
“I believe that every industry, be it entertainment or (other) professionals or any segment of society are influencers and our outreach is to each and every one of them," Jain said when asked whether Bollywood celebrities can act as influencers for the general public.
To be sure, while most film figures have condemned ongoing violence in the country, few, including Anurag Kashyap, Swara Bhasker and Mohd Zeeshan Ayub, have openly criticized the CAA. Last night though, several people including Kashyap and directors like Vishal Bharadwaj, Anubhav Sinha, Hansal Mehta and Zoya Akhtar along with actors Taapsee Pannu, Dia Mirza, Richa Chadha and Bhasker gathered for a peaceful protest in Mumbai.