The appeal is the brainchild of writer Anjum Rajabali and has well-known artistes and filmmakers like Nandita Das, Shubha Mudgal, Mahesh Bhatt, Vishal Bhardwaj and Govid Nihalani among the signatories.
While the petition doesn’t name Narendra Modi, but Rajabali told a news channel that there is no ambiguity behind the appeal as it was clearly aimed against the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
“There seems to a be wave people are talking about…Narendra Modi represents a certain ideology. I am from Gujarat and I understand what kind of development there is and I understand the propaganda. There are very very serious questions which are consistently being raised but the voices are never being heard,” he said.
Rajabali said that while it is understandable that people are disgusted by corruption and misgovernance, the bigger question is whether the country should not have a government which has an inclusive ideology.
The petitioners have stressed on the need to maintain country’s cultural diversity and pluralism. They appealed: “The need of the hour is to protect our country’s secular foundation. Undoubtedly, corruption and governance are important issues, but we will have to vigilantly work out ways of holding our government accountable to that. However, one thing is clear: India’s secular character is not negotiable! Not now, not ever.”
“As Indian citizens who love our motherland, we appeal to you to vote for the secular party, which is most likely to win in your constituency,” they said.
Among the others who signed the petition are filmmakers Vinay Shukla, Kabir Khan, Kundan Shah, and Imtiaz Ali and actors Swara Bhaskar and Joy Sengupta.
Activist Teesta Setelvad and her husband Javed Anand have also signed the petition, reports said.
Writer Salim Khan, singing legend Lata Mangeshkar are among Modi’s strongest supporters in Bollywood.