Amid a controversy over a music video released to save the rivers in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar skipped the Dahisar River March — a programme on river conservation — on Sunday, media reports said.
Fadnavis and Mungantiwar were invited as chief guests to the event in Mumbai's Dahisar, along with the chief minister's wife Amruta Fadnavis who attended the march, The Asian Age reported.
"When I went to see the rivers, I was so upset as there was everything in it other than water. This is something that Mumbai has lost, but it is still not too late and we can still change it. You have everything with you and you only have to come together to clean it... On the occasion of Shiv Jayanti (birth anniversary of Shivaji), let’s take a vow and walk with Mumbai to bring the change," The Indian Express quoted Amruta as saying at the event on Sunday.
In February, the video, titled Mumbai River Anthem, had gone viral on social media with 6,69,050 views on YouTube in two days since. It showed Amruta singing and swaying to the music, before she is joined by her husband lip-syncing to the song sung by Sonu Nigam.
It also features Mumbai civic commissioner Ajoy Mehta, police commissioner Datta Padsalgikar and state forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. The city's famed dabbawallas and fisherfolk community also make an appearance in the video.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) slammed the chief minister and his wife, calling the clip "terrible and shocking". "This video is terrible and shocking. To further her singing career, Amruta has used the chief minister, senior civic and police officials, and also the chief minister's official residence, Varsha, where part of the video was shot," AAP spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon said.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena also slammed the video, saying that it exposed the government's double standards on environmental causes.
The Congress, too, sharply criticised the video. Speaking during a discussion on Governor's address on 1 March, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil (Congress) said, "I wonder whether these are ministers or band members. I saw one viral video clip on river conservation. I was happy to see our CM in it....Now change the name from Bharatiya Janata Party to Banjo Party."
The chief minister then responded to the comments, calling the Opposition's criticism "unfortunate" and uncalled for. "I am surprised over the vilification campaign. A leading organisation had drafted a campaign for conservation of rivers in Mumbai. They approached me for issuing an appeal to the people. Since it was for a public cause, I agreed to it," he said.
Updated Date: Mar 05, 2018 09:21 AM