Leaders of West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress and Opposition BJP exchanged barbs on Thursday over the cancellation of a scheduled concert of singer Arijit Singh in the New Town area near Kolkata.
The BJP alleged that the February 18 concert was cancelled as Mr Singh had recently sung ‘rang de tu mohe gerua’, which has the word ‘saffron’, in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the inauguration of the 28th Kolkata International Film Festival.
The TMC rubbished the charge and claimed that the show was cancelled because of a G20 meeting, while asserting that the BJP is “not the custodian of saffron colour”.
It said the show will be held on the same date and a hunt for an alternate location is on.
Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari tweeted, “Music has no boundaries when it comes to Pakistani Ghulam Ali but the case is different for Hindustani Arijit Singh.”
Mr Banerjee had in 2016 invited Ghulam Ali for a concert in the eastern metropolis after his show was cancelled in Mumbai due to threats from Shiv Sena.
BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh also told reporters that Singh was victimised by state agency Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO), the custodian of Eco Park, the scheduled venue in New Town, for singing the song in front of Banerjee at KIFF.
HIDCO chairman and state minister Firhad Hakim rubbished the BJP’s allegation and asserted that the party is “not the custodian of saffron colour”.
“Arijit Singh’s concert had to be cancelled as there will be a large number of national and international guests at a G20 meeting at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre near Eco Park around the same time. Police cited security issues and we went by their recommendation,” Mr Hakim said.
Salman Khan’s show scheduled at Eco Park in January end was also cancelled but there was no hullabaloo over it, he said.
TMC state spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that several alternate locations including Acquatica theme park are being scoured for Singh’s concert.
“Arijit had sung at the KIFF inauguration on December 15 and money deposited for his Eco Park concert was returned on December 8. An amount of Rs 3 lakh deposited for a programme of Salman Khan was also returned. Then how did the question of saffron come?” he said in a Facebook post in Bangla.
He deplored the way “Bengal’s pride” Arijit was subjected to politics and said his programme will be held elsewhere.
“Similarly, Salman Khan’s programme will be held at Milan Mela Fair Ground. Why is no controversy being raked up over the cancellation of his Eco Park programme?” he added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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