Nitesh Rane, Swahiman Sanghtana leader and the son of Maharashtra Industries Minister Narayan Rane, on Wednesday came down heavily on singer Lata Mangeshkar and actor Amitabh Bachchan for praising Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the state.
"They should not be ungrateful to Maharashtra which has given them name and fame. Why should they sing praises of Gujarat and Narendra Modi when our own state has done much more in terms of development and progress," Rane said at a press conference.
He backed Mumbai Congress chief Janardhan Chandurkar who recently demanded that Lata should be asked to return the Bharat Ratna given by the UPA government, for praising Modi at a public function in Pune.
"The Mangeshkar family lives in Mumbai and derives so many special benefits from this state. To respect her opposition, the state government did not pursue Peddar Road flyover project (near her house) putting hundreds of daily commuters to hardship. But Lata is ungrateful and is supporting Gujarat CM for the PM's post," he said.
"Similarly, I think Amitabh Bachchan owes all his name and fame to Mumbai and Bollywood where he thrived. Had he not lived in Mumbai, he may not have achieved all that recognition.
"But he has preferred to be brand Ambassador of Modi's Gujarat. This is unfair," said Rane.
Nitesh, who is also a Congress member, said all the talk of Gujarat development model was a hoax and Maharashtra had always been far ahead in industry and social welfare.
As to his earlier statement -- which had kicked up a controversy -- that Gujaratis who live in Mumbai but admire Modi should go back to their home state, he justified it.
"I say this because there are more Gujaratis who are not enamoured of Modi and find nothing special in what he has done in Gujarat," he said.
Nitesh, who is reportedly eyeing Assembly ticket from Konkan region, said Swabhiman was a social organisation aligned to Congress's ideology, and would work for the party in the coming elections.