Mumbai: Bollywood star Akshay Kumar has thanked Union minister Kiren Rijiju for coming out in his support following a controversy over his citizenship.
The actor, who recently made headlines for his "candid and completely non-political" chat with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was the subject of intense speculation about his citizenship after he did not vote in Mumbai on April 29 in the fourth round of the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls.
On May 3, in a statement on his official Twitter handle, the 51-year-old actor said he had never hidden or denied that he holds a Canadian passport.
The same day, Rijiju offered his support to the Bollywood superstar, saying his "patriotism" towards the country is beyond any doubt.
The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs also lauded Akshay's efforts in raising funds for the 'Bharat Ke Veer' campaign, a home ministry fund which aids families of paramilitary personnel who died fighting extremists.
"Dear @akshaykumar ji, no one can question your patriotism. Your motivation to our Armed Forces personnel and the way you generated funds for our martyrs through #BharatKeVeer programme will remain an example for every patriotic Indian," Rijiju, posted on the micro-blogging site.
In his response on Tuesday, Akshay thanked the minister, saying he will continue to support the Indian armed forces.
"Thank you so much @KirenRijiju Sir, and I apologise for the delayed response. I am grateful for your kind words. Please be assured, my commitment to #BharatKeVeer and to the Indian armed forces would remain steady, no matter what," the actor wrote.
Akshay, who started his journey in Bollywood in 1991 with "Saugandh", has established himself as one of the Hindi film industry's most bankable stars.
In the past few years, the actor has featured in a series of films such as "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha" and "Padman" focusing on social issues. He also won a National Award for his performance in "Rustom", in which he played a patriotic Navy officer.
Akshay's last release was "Kesari" based on the Battle of Saragarhi.