MUMBAI: Best known for his role as Yudhishtira in BR Chopra’s Mahabharat, politician-turned-actor Gajendra Chauhan is the new Chief of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). However, even before he could take the charge officially, his selection has led the Modi government under a fresh attack for appointing a BJP member as chairman of FTTI’s governing council.

While many have tagged it as a political move by the BJP-ruled central government, others have categorized it as an ‘assault’ on one of the finest institutions of the country.

Chauhan has been a member of the BJP’s cultural wing for a decade now but his appointment has attracted massive criticism from different corners.

Speaking about the accusations, Chauhan maintained that he will prove himself and people often try to pull us down. “I appeal to all those who doubt my credibility to give me at least a year to perform my duties and I will change their opinion,” he said.

While the students of FTII remained insistent in their demand for removal of the actor from the post, Chauhan accused the protests of being ‘politically motivated’ and whipped up by someone for his own personal interest. 

With the strike by the students entering the fourth day today, the FTII students association was still awaiting the response from the information and broadcasting ministry.

Chauhan also spoke about accusations of using his ‘close connections’ with the BJP to obtain the post. “I joined the party along with Navjot Singh Sidhu in 2004. If the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry wanted to give me the post due to the ‘political’ connection, they would have done it long ago. The fact that they didn’t is because a certain procedure needs to be followed. Also, if I wanted to use my connections, I would have asked for a ticket in the parliamentary elections,” he said.

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