On Friday, JD(U) lashed out at RJD for insulting legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar over his statement against foreign meddling in the stir against the farm laws. In a veiled response to the comments on the farm agitation by celebrities such as Barbadian pop star Rihanna and environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Tendulkar tweeted, "India’s sovereignty cannot be compromised. External forces can be spectators but not participants. Indians know India and should decide for India. Let's remain united as a nation". Earlier in the day, senior RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari had accused the Centre of pitting Tendulkar against the likes of Rihanna and Thunberg and raised a question mark on his Bharat Ratna.
Responding to this comment, JD(U) spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan asked the RJD leadership to take strict action against Tiwari. According to him, the language used by the RJD leader for Sachin Tendulkar in the context of the Bharat Ratna could not be pardoned. Lashing out at Rihanna and Thunberg for commenting on India's "internal matter", he opined that Tiwari made this statement on the instructions of Tejashwi Yadav.
JD(U) spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan remarked, "Firstly, the words he used for Sachin Tendulkar's Bharat Ratna in support of so-called celebrities like Greta Thunberg cannot be forgiven under any circumstances. He should take back his words, If RJD has even a little bit of respect for the country's pride, self-respect, unity and integrity, they should take strict action against Shivanand Tiwari. Greta Thunberg who mentioned about the January 26 incident 14 times and what she has said on her Twitter handle about the country's internal matter along with celebrities like Rihanna should not be forgiven."
"I feel that such statements are made on the instructions of Tejashwi Yadav. We don't have any hope that RJD will take any action. But if they (RJD) want to discharge their duty towards the peace-loving citizens of the country and if they have even a little respect for democracy, they should initiate action against him," he added.
ग्रेटा थनबर्ग जैसे तथाकथित सिलेब्रिटीज की हिमायत में देश की अस्मिता और स्वाभिमान के प्रतीक भारत रत्न सचिन तेंदुलकर को ले करके शिवानंद तिवारी ने जिस तरह के शब्दों का प्रयोग किया है उसकी कठोरतम शब्दों में भर्त्सना की जानी चाहिए। @RJDforIndia @Jduonline pic.twitter.com/6l1Z3OmSxX— Rajiv Ranjan Prasad (@RajivRanjanJDU) February 5, 2021
Stirring a controvery, RJD's Shivanand Tiwari told the media, "What do the farmers even know? The Twitter politics has started nowadays. Everyone is playing Twitter politics. What information about Twitter do farmers and people living in villages have? Or what would he know about Greta Thunberg or the woman who sings? And you have pitted Sachin Tendulkar against them. Sachin Tendulkar is a Bharat Ratna. A person who has received the Bharat Ratna keeps doing advertisements. He is a model. It is an insult to give the Bharat Ratna to someone like Sachin Tendulkar. When he received the award, I had strongly opposed it. By making these people speak, do they want that people will be blind to reality?"
In a strongly-worded statement, the Ministry of External Affairs made it clear that the farm reforms were enacted by the Parliament after a full debate and discussion. Maintaining that only a very small section of farmers have reservations about these laws, it mentioned that the Centre has not only conducted 11 rounds of talks with farm unions but also offered to keep the implementation of the laws on hold. The MEA lamented that "vested groups" were trying to derail the protests despite this scenario.
To buttress its point, it highlighted the violence that took place in the national capital during the farmers' tractor rally. Moreover, the Ministry linked the desecration of Mahatma Gandhi statues in different parts of the world to the instigation by fringe elements seeking to mobilize international support against India. It called upon the foreign entities and individuals to ascertain the facts before "rushing to comment" on such matters. As per the MEA, celebrities resorting to sensationalist hashtags and comments is "neither accurate nor responsible".