A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Bharatiya Janata Party workers to refrain from making “unnecessary remarks” on irrelevant issues such as movies, saying that they put the party’s development agenda on the back burner, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said that the PM’s words are important for all party members.
“Nobody was named, but his (PM Modi’s) every word, sentence is important for us and that is why all the workers have drawn inspiration from there,” the minister who had red-flagged actor Deepika Padukone’s attire in an upcoming film starring Shah Rukh Khan, said.
Also Read: Reach out to all sections of society, including minorities: PM Modi tells BJP workers
Addressing a session during the BJP’s National Executive in New Delhi on Tuesday, the Prime Minister suggested that party leaders inadvertently put the government’s development agenda on the back burner when they indulge in making commenting on unnecessary issues like films.
“Our conduct and behaviour is always filled with his guidance and energy and will continue to be in the future.” Mishra, who has often hit headlines for his controversial statements, said when asked to comment on the PM’s remark.
Mishra, 62, is six-term MLA of the ruling BJP from Datia district and also serves as the spokesperson of the state government. Be it films or political leaders, the powerful minister in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet, is no stranger to controversy.
Also Read: Hanuman Chalisa effect led to fall of MVA govt in Maharashtra: MP minister Narottam Mishra
Before he objected to Deepika Padukone’s attire in the song, Narottam Mishra has often raised objections to several films and has consistently sought to position himself as a leader who is at the forefront of defending Indian culture and traditions against any perceived insult or attack.
In October 2022, Mishra had warned the makers of Adipurush, based on the Hindu epic Ramayana, of legal action if scenes allegedly showing Hindu religious figures in a “wrong” way were not removed.
In July, he had directed authorities to file an FIR over a controversial poster of filmmaker Leena Manimekalai’s documentary ‘Kaali’ following outrage on social media.
Besides films, Mishra has also been one of the harshest critics of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. In September, Mishra had labelled the Bharat Jodo Yatra as the ‘Congress Chodo Yatra’ in wake of a series of defections from the party since the launch of the ambitious foot march from Kanyakumari on September 7.
He has also criticised Rahul Gandhi and even compared him to former Pakistan PM Imran Khan as well as the incumbent Pakistan Foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto. The barb came after the latter’s remarks against the Prime Minister of India triggered a huge row, resulting in protests across the country as well as a strong rebuttal from the Ministry of External Affairs.
“The statement of Bilawal Bhutto and Rahul Gandhi is similar. One of them is questioning the Army (over border issue with China), while the other is raising questions on the Prime Minister (Modi) of the country. Therefore, I would like to ask Kamal Nathji whether he agrees or disagrees with the words used by Gandhi,” Mishra said, referring to Gandhi’s remarks that Indian soldiers were being beaten up by the Chinese Army in Arunachal Pradesh.
Rahul also faced flak from Mishra over the participation of former JNU student leader-turned-Congress member Kanhaiya Kumar and actress Swara Bhaskar in the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“Participation of persons with an anti-national mindset like Swara Bhasker and Kanhaiya Kumar in the Bharat Jodo Yatra has proved this yatra is being taken in support of those who want to break up the country,” the MP minister had said, referring to the duo whom he has earlier termed as members of the ‘Tukde Tukde gang’.
Only time will tell if Mishra will heed the PM’s advice and mend his ways as the elections approach. However, by referring to BJP leaders making “unnecessary statements” on films, the PM has made it amply clear that such actions are not acceptable. For Mishra, his constant knack of finding faults in films is also ironic. After all, Madhya Pradesh, which goes to polls this year, takes pride for winning the National Award for being the “Most Film Friendly State” for the second time in five years!