A day after Congress demanded that Global Citizen India’s upcoming event in Mumbai, which features British rock band Coldplay, be postponed, BJP has lashed out at the party and said it’s foolish to think a concert can ‘influence voters’.
Congress had earlier attacked the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance for waiving of the entertainment tax and rentals for Global Citizen India’s upcoming event and complained to the State Election Commission (SEC), demanding that the event be postponed until after the ongoing civic elections process in the state.
The star-studded event, which will be held at MMRDA grounds in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) on November 19, will feature performances by Jay Z and a host of Bollywood celebrities including Aamir Khan, A.R. Rahman, Arjun Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor-Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ranveer Singh, Shah Rukh Khan, as well as sportspersons Sachin Tendulkar, Sakshi Malik among others.
Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam on Thursday shot off a letter to State Election Commissioner J.S. Saharia, noting that top politicians will participate in the event organised by the Global Citizen India as part of its inaugural Global Citizen Festival.
“The state government has granted the organisers 75 percent concession on the rent for the MMRDA Ground, Bandra East, and waived off entertainment tax for the event. This is a waste of public money and such concessions are not granted to other organisations,” Nirupam said in the letter.
The organizers had to pay Rs 2 crore towards venue fees, against the Rs 8 crore that one would have had to pay normally for booking MMRDA ground for 3 days.
Moreover, he contended that organising entertainment shows at public expense is tantamount to influencing the voters and the platform would be exploited politically in the ongoing civic elections season.
Nirupam urged Saharia to probe how the concert was granted so many concessions during the election season and asked that the show must be brought under the ambit of Election Commission code of conduct.
The Congress demanded that either the concert be postponed until after the elections, or it should be conducted in a simple manner without the presence of any political leader on stage.
Reports, however, suggest that the code of conduct has been imposed across Maharashtra where local body elections are underway. No restrictions have been placed on Mumbai, where the elections are due early next year.
The Congress Mumbai chief even compared the upcoming event to the famous Michael Jackson concert held in Mumbai in 1996, organised during the first Shiv Sena-BJP government, which had stirred a huge controversy.
Responding to the opposition’s call for postponing or cancelling the event, Niranjan Shetty, chief spokesperson for BJP Mumbai told Asian Age,
“The Congress has no important issue to raise hence such futile attempts are being made by them. It’s foolish to think that a music concert can influence voters.”
As for the event, a majority of passes will be given for free to those who undertake philanthropic activities. In addition, funds raised from the concert will be donated towards charity.