Arun Jaitley today stepped up attack on those returning awards by calling them "rabid anti-BJP elements" and stuck to his guns that their protest is a manufactured rebellion.
“Those returning awards are playing politics by other means. Follow their tweets and their stances on various social and political issues. You will find a lot of rabid anti-BJP elements in them,” Arun Jaitley, who holds charge of Finance and Information and Broadcasting Ministries, told reporters.
“I had already called it a manufactured rebellion. I stand by my phrase. And I think, the events as they are unfolding only indicate that kind of manufacturing is going on at faster speed,” the Minister said here while replying to a question on the returning of awards by writers, film-makers and scientists.
He also claimed that some of them had gone to Varanasi to campaign against Narendra Modi in the last general elections.
Stating that space of the Left has reduced, he claimed that those returning awards were in a way electioneering against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar polls.
Rejecting the charge that an atmosphere of intolerance was prevailing in the country, he said there was normalcy in the country.
He condemned all the incidents being dubbed as examples of intolerance and called for strict action against those responsible for it.
The Union minister, however, said there was a disproportionate political reaction to the incidents taking place in the country and asked those returning awards if their conscience had pricked when corruption and scams to the tune of lakhs and crores of rupees were taking place during the UPA rule.
On the students of FTII withdrawing agitation and resuming academic activities, Jaitley welcomed the move and said the government wanted to make FTII an institution of excellence.