Under fire from the Shiv Sena, Bollywood actor Sonu Sood — who has been a messiah for thousands of migrants — called on Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray here late on Sunday.
Sood shot into limelight for organising buses and flight for migrants to return to their native places.
The meeting, also attended by Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, came after Sonu Sood was sarcatically labelled as a “mahatma” for his services to the migrants’ cause.
Meanwhile, the meeting with the Thackerays was described as a “courtesy call” by Sood.
Tweeting on the meeting, Aaditya Thackeray wrote, “This evening Sonu Sood met up with Uddhav Thackeray ji along with Minister Aslam Shaikh ji and me. Better Together, Stronger Together to assist as many people through as many people. Good to have met a good soul to work for the people together”.
The CM @OfficeofUT was glad to meet @SonuSood and discussed the work everyone is doing for the people during covid relief. Misunderstandings don’t exist but what does is a commitment to help people.
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) June 7, 2020
Earlier, Sood had met Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
The Sena has alleged it as a move to show the Maharashtra government in poor light even as ruling Nationalist Congress Party leader and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh lauded the actor.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut in an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana said that Sonu Soon is the new “Mahatma” and he had appeared abruptly out of nowhere during the coronavirus lockdown.
Raut said, “Maharashtra has had a tradition of social work and it has seen great social workers like Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and Baba Amte who are from Maharashtra. Now a new name has emerged in this list and that is Sonu Sood.”
The editorial further raised questions as to how the actor was able to get buses during the Coronavirus lockdown, also when the Centre and state was not able to do it.
“One has seen in videos and pictures, Sonu Sood has been on roads, in the scorching heat, trying to help the migrant workers,” the Saamana article read.
“Sood is an actor whose profession is to deliver dialogues scripted by someone else and make a living out of it. There are many people like Sood who would promote any political party if paid well,” Raut further wrote.
The Sena leader further probed Sood’s efforts saying that if the other states were not letting migrant workers enter, where did those people he rescued, reached.
Sanjay Raut had stated that “The BJP has (politically) adopted Sonu Sood and tried to create an influence among the North Indian migrant workers. The BJP was struggling to stay politically relevant during the coronavirus crisis and faced a severe backlash from public, who detested the frequent criticism of the Thackeray government by BJP leaders.”
Taking a dig at the BJP, Raut said people might soon get to hear Sood’s name in ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio programme, and the actor meeting him in person in Delhi. “Sood might even visit Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi as a star campaigner for the BJP. When most of the actors were sitting at home, Sonu Sood’s acting skills were flourishing,” he stated.
“You do not need a screen all the time to show your acting skills, as has been demonstrated by Mahatma Sood. His political directors are experts in their field. We will soon come to know about his next political move,” he added.
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Sonu Sood had a meeting at Raj Bhavan on May 31, where they discussed his initiative to help the migrants reach their home states. Koshyari had applauded his endeavour and assured full support for his actions.