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FTII row: Paresh Rawal taunts ‘actor’ Rahul Gandhi

Friday, 31 July,New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and actor Paresh Rawal on Friday took a jibe at Rahul Gandhi for politicising the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) chairman, saying the students must be seeing ‘an actor’ in the Congress vice-president.

“I have not listened to Rahul Gandhi’s questions. He has got a topic. We should at least allow him to be happy and celebrate. We will answer him later,” said Rawal. “I just want to ask the students at FTII that if they are seeing a political worker in Gajendra Chauhan, then are they seeing an actor in Rahul Gandhi?”, he asked.

Rahul Gandhi told protesting (FTII) students here on Friday that the NDA regime is trying to undermine the institution. Gandhi, who was greeted by strong BJP protests outside the FTII campus, asked the students, “Why do you think the government is so disturbed by your protests?” The students replied that, “There is lack of knowledge in the people governing us.” Gandhi also asked them as to why was the government upsetting their peace of mind.

A student said, “This is not just about FTII. It is happening in a lot of higher education and cultural institutions.” Gandhi, who was dressed casually in a T-shirt and jeans, also used the occasion to target the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

“If the student body doesn?t want you (Gajendra Chauhan), then you clearly should not be there. The RSS, its wings and their ideology are consistently promoting mediocre people. I have seen this everywhere,” he said.
The Congress vice-president further said that he was in the FTII campus because the voices of the students were not being heard by those in power.

“This is not simply about this school; this is being done to the entire country. They will say you are anti-national and anti-Hindu. They are scared of you. That is the nature of a bully. Calling anti-national or anti-Hindu are techniques to shut you (students) up,” said Gandhi. “Why do they want only one idea from India?Why not multiple ideas? This will make a really nice movie- how the entire might of the Indian Government was trying to push 250 students aside. The idea of IIT was an idea created many years ago. Now, we need to think of an IIT of the 21st century,” he added.

Gandhi alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was running a one-man show. “If the Prime Minister wants somebody, nobody in the BJP can move him…This is just a minor fight you are facing here. The real fight is fighting for the idea of the country outside here. I wouldn?t be for privatization of the institution. If they want to privatize then I will be here sitting with you,” he said.

Congress leader and actor Raj Babar was also present during the interactive session along with Telugu megastar Chiranjeevi. The students have been on a strike for the last 50 days demanding that the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of FTII must be cancelled.