Here's why PM Narendra Modi will skip Global Citizen concert

Updated: Nov 19, 2016, 10:54 IST | Dharmendra Jore |

Narendra Modi to skip Global Citizen concert; people in state government and BJP blame the controversies ahead of mega event for his absence

Narendra Modi was scheduled to attend, but has since withdrawn
Narendra Modi was scheduled to attend, but has since withdrawn

While several celebrities and politicians will be in attendance at the Global Citizen festival where Coldplay is performing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be conspicuous by his absence.

Sources said the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had not confirmed the itinerary for the event by Friday evening. The additional police that were put in service ahead of the PM's visit too were withdrawn after receiving a message from New Delhi.

A senior official said the PM's itinerary had a slot reserved for a couple of events in Mumbai on November 19, but the final itinerary which is sent across to the respective state ahead of the PM's visit did not have any such event listed.

Controversies behind it?
However, many people in the government and BJP blamed the controversies that the event has courted in the past one month. The Opposition and activists have been demanding a stay on the event citing several reasons and decisions that were taken in favor of the organisers.

The Opposition and activists objected to the state's decision of charging a concessional rent for the expensive venue. And when activists learnt that the government, a host partner, was mulling waiving off the entertainment tax for this event, the matter was taken to the Bombay HC, which ruled that the organisers must pay duty to the government.

Tax the show!
On Thursday, the court also directed the government to secure an undertaking from organizers to pay entertainment tax under provisions of the Bombay Entertainment Duty Act. But the court refused to stay the show. Businessman Hemant Gavande and activist Anjali Damania had filed a PIL challenging the state's decision.

The PIL said that the BKC ground could accommodate 1.5 lakh people and if the price of tickets are taken into consideration, the event will generate crores and the entertainment duty will be huge. According to Gavande and Damania, the PM was present at an event held by Global Citizen at the Central Park in New York in September 2014. They said the tourism department mooted a proposal for the event at BKC.

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