New Delhi: Days after Deepika Padukone visited the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to express solidarity with students who were attacked by masked miscreants on January 5, Union Minister Smriti Irani asserted that the Bollywood actor chose to stand with ‘people who wanted the destruction of India’. Speaking at an event organised by The New Indian Express in Chennai, Irani also claimed that Padukone had made her political affiliation known in 2011 that she supports the Congress party.

Notably, Irani was referring to the actor’s 2011 interview, wherein she had backed former Congress president Rahul Gandhi for Prime Minster. The old interview of Padukone is being shared by her critics, ever since she expressed solidarity with JNU students.

“It was not unexpected to us that she was going to stand with people who want the destruction of India. She sided with people who hit girls on their private parts with lathis. I can’t deny her that right. She made her political affiliation known in 2011 that she supports the Congress Party. If people are surprised by this, it is because they didn’t know. There were a lot of admirers of hers who have just discovered her position,” said the Minister.

On Tuesday evening, the 34-year-old star, who was in the National Capital for promotions of  her film ‘Chhapaak’ – attended the meeting and stood as former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar gave a speech.

Deepika’s presence on the university campus led to several trolls slamming her and calling it a promotional, PR stunt for her film. However, there was another section that lauded her for showing solidarity with the students. Several hashtags, both positive and negative, like #DeepikaPadukone, #IStandWithDeepika, #BoycottDeepikaPadukone and #BoycottChhapaak started trending on Twitter, following her visit.