NEW DELHI: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday led a delegation to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet President Pranab Mukherjee over the appointment of an “under-qualified” TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of the FTII.
Citing the prolonged agitation of the FTII students over the appointment of Chauhan and some other non-filmi personalities on the Institute’s board, Rahul alleged that the government has been taken in by people who praise Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the RSS.
“The people, who are placed on top of them (the FTII students) do not have the merit to be placed on the top. The only merit they have is that they have sung praises of the Prime Minister and are believed to be supporters of RSS ideology,” Rahul told the media, after meeting the President.
Though there has been criticism from several quarters, including the film fraternity, that the FTII issue should not be politicised but resolved through dialogue with the decision-makers concerned, the Congress vice-president seemed unwilling to factor in the views even as he championed what he called the cause of the “creative people”.
Earlier, Congress leaders, like Mani Shankar Aiyar, had claimed that if the government had chosen a person more “qualified” or suited to the prestige of the institute, irrespective of political ideological leanings, the Congress would neither criticise nor wade into the issue.
Also, on Thursday, Rahul belatedly took on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj over the charges she had levelled against his father and former Prime Minister, the late Rajiv Gandhi in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, particularly in relation to the Bofors case.
Rahul said he was used to the campaign against his father over the latter’s alleged involvement in Bofors case, which had been going on for the past 30 years.
Rahul said the government was trying to muzzle dissenting voices, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Emergency-like mindset barb against the Congress.
Alleging that Sushma and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had defended ‘black money network’ in Parliament on Wednesday, Rahul alleged that Lalit Modi was the ‘biggest link’ between the political system and black money.
Daring the Prime Minister to catch hold of Lalit and bring him back to India, Rahul claimed that he understood that the Prime Minister could be cornered. “We will keep on attacking and build so much pressure on the Prime Minister that Lalit will have to come back,” he said.