One in 4 million stands taller

Bachchan follows grateful Congress on twitter

By Arnab Ganguly in Chandigarh
  • Published 10.02.18
Amitabh Bachchan

Chandigarh: Bollywood usually waits " bees saal" for reunions. Amitabh Bachchan took two more years, choosing to follow the Congress on Twitter from Friday when the party clocked 4 million followers.

"Thank you SrBachchan ji for the follow. We wish you all the best for '102 not out'," the Congress's social media cell responded to the actor, with the hashtag INCLovesYou.

"We have another reason to celebrate. We have 4 million followers today. Thank you, everybody," the Congress added.

(In the evening, Bachchan, 75, was briefly admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai after he complained of pain in his lower back, PTI quoted a hospital source saying. "He came to hospital for pain in lumbar (lower back) region. He was given injections and discharged," the source said.)

Bachchan revived his relationship - albeit limited to a virtual one -with the Congress on a day he uploaded the teaser of 102 Not Out, which also rekindles a bond that had worked well on screen. 102 Not Out tells the story of a 102-year-old father and a 75-year-old son played by Rishi Kapoor, known for his on-screen chemistry with Bachchan.

If Bachchan and Kapoor are coming together on screen after 27 years, a nebulous link with the Congress was re-established after 22 years.

The Congress and its one-time MP from Allahabad had parted ways in 1987 at the peak of the Bofors scandal but the superstar had kept in touch with Rajiv Gandhi's family for almost another decade. However, they had drifted apart after 1996.

It could not be verified whether Bachchan was the 4 millionth follower of the Congress on Twitter.

In Twitterworld, Bachchan towers over the Congress. Bachchan has around 33 million followers and follows 1,593 accounts that includes A-listers from the film industry and top politicians. Bachchan follows both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

The hashtag "INCLovesYou" was reminiscent of a time when Bachchan was a regular at 10 Janpath and took his first baby steps into electoral politics, holding the hands of Rajiv soon after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984.

"Why should I have spoken about our friendship? There has been no need to. Friendship is a personal bond; it is to be felt, not spoken about," Bachchan had told journalist Khalid Mohammad in the book To Be Or Not To Be Amitabh Bachchan, asked why he did not talk about his friendship with Rajiv.

Since 1996, testy ties between the families have bubbled up once in a while.

In 2004, Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan had said in Samajwadi Party rallies that "those who brought her husband into politics did not stand by him when he was going through a crisis", alluding to the Bofors scandal that forced Bachchan out of electoral politics.

Bachchan himself has largely avoided making any direct reference to the Nehru-Gandhi family. But when Jaya courted controversy, he had said: "The Nehru-Gandhi family has ruled the country. Woh raja hain, hum runk hain (They are rulers, we are the ruled)."

As the distance grew, the comments of Bachchan, who zealously guards his privacy and takes care to steer clear of controversies, have been dissected in search of clues to any tilt. In a TV interview in 2015, Bachchan had claimed he was unaware of the beef ban that was at the centre of a raging intolerance debate across the country.

After last year's Mumbai rains, Bachchan wrote on Twitter: "Don't try to fight nature... don't put blame.. what did most powerful nation in the World do against Hurricane Harvey." The BJP is in power in Maharashtra.

However, in 2012, when the UPA was in power, Bachchan had tweeted on rising fuel prices: "Pump attendant - ' kitne ka daloon?' ! Mumbaikar - '2-4 rupye ka car ke upar spray kar de bhai, jalana hai!!'

Additional reporting by Rasheed Kidwai