A host of Bengali actors join the BJP and the Trinamool Congress

Published : February 17, 2021 21:27 IST

Bengali actors Papiya Adhikari and Yash Dasgupta after joining the BJP in Kolkata, on February 17. Photo: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI

The battle for West Bengal in the upcoming Assembly election is also turning out to be a battle for ‘Tollywood’ (the nickname for the Bengali film and entertainment industry) between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). With the Trinamool regularly showcasing celebrities and actors joining the party, the BJP was not to be left behind. On February 17, a host of actors and celebrities, including movie stars Papiya Adhikari, Soumili Ghosh Biswas and Yash Dasgupta – were inducted into the saffron fold in the presence of Kailash Vijayvargiya, national general secretary of the BJP and the party’s central observer for West Bengal.

Speaking on the occasion, Yash Dasgupta said, “The BJP is a party that has always given the youth a chance and placed their faith in the youth. It is the youth that can bring about a change…. Politics is about change, and if you want to change the system, you need to be a part of the system.” Veteran actress Anjana Basu alleged that she faced discrimination in the industry due to her support for the BJP. “One of my serials, which had good TRP (Television Rating Points), was taken off air and no producer in the industry had the courage to hire me for work since then [for the past several months].... This kind of thing must end,” she said.

Just 12 days before Yash and others joined the BJP, several stars, including Bengali film legend Dipankar De, joined the Trinamool. De, known to be a supporter of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, formally joined the ruling party saying the Trinamool had stood by him during his time of trouble. “I cannot betray Trinamool,” he said.

With the Trinamool known to hold sway in the entertainment industry, the BJP has been seen trying to reach out to popular artistes. Senior BJP leader Anirban Gangopadhyay had gone and met matinee idol Prosenjit Chatterjee at his residence on February 16, sparking off speculation of the Bengali movie star joining the party. Prosenjit, however, dismissed any possibility of joining politics, stating on social media: “There is no political inclination nor agenda apart from meeting and greeting Dr. Ganguly. I stay focused on what I know best - Acting.”

In a separate development, on February 17, veteran actor and Trinamool MLA from Barasat, Chiranjeet Chakraborty, announced that he would be quitting politics. Chiranjeet, known to be close to Mamata Banerjee, maintained that he was not interested in joining the BJP. “There is no question of switching parties because I am not a politician [anymore]. Even if I leave this party, I will not be joining any other party. I will go back to being what I was before, a non-political person…. This is not a new development for me. Even before the last election I had requested that I be allowed to leave,” said Chiranjeet.

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