West Bengal polls: ‘I am a cobra,’ says actor Mithun Chakraborty after joining BJP in Kolkata
Chakraborty was a Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP before he resigned in December 2016, citing ill health.
Actor Mithun Chakraborty on Sunday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Kolkata. Chakraborty was a Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP before he resigned in December 2016, citing ill health.
BJP national General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya had met Chakraborty in Kolkata on Saturday amid speculations that the actor might attend Modi’s rally.
Chakraborty belted out some of his famous dialogues from Bangla movies. He began with his most famous dialogue “Marbo ekhaney...laash porbay shoshaney [I will hit you here, and the body will be found in a crematorium]”.
“This dialogue is a good one,” the actor said. “But I will give you another one which is going to happen this time [in elections]. “Aami joldhorao noi, bele borao noi...aami ekta jaat cobra, ek chhobol-ei chhobi [I am not a harmless snake...I am rather a pure cobra, one will turn to a photograph in one strike of mine].”
Chakraborty also said that it was like a dream for him to be addressing a rally from a dais that he shared with the prime minister of the world’s largest democracy.
Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy said that the actor was a “star of yesteryears”. “Mithun Chakraborty is not a star of today,” Roy told ANI. “He has changed parties four times. He was originally a Naxalite, then went to CPM, then he joined TMC and was made a Rajya Sabha MP.”
Roy said the saffron party had threatened Chakraborty with cases by the Enforcement Directorate against him that forced him to leave the Rajya Sabha. “...and now he has joined BJP. He has no credibility, no respect, and no influence among the people,” he said.
However, Chakraborty termed his stint as a Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP as a “bad decision”, NDTV reported. “I don’t want to point fingers at anyone [saying] that it was their fault,” the actor said, while speaking to reporters after the rally. “It was my bad decision. Let’s end that topic here.”
He also claimed that he joined the BJP to work for the poor people and he did not bother if his move was being seen as selfish. “You can [call] me selfish or anything else,” Chakraborty said, according to NDTV. “ But the reason behind my selfishness is that I want to be with poor people, I want to fight for them. Since I was 18-years old, I had a dream that I will stay with the poor people, I will help them, I will get them their due respect.”
He expressed confidence that the BJP will form the government in West Bengal and said that he will be the “proudest man” to be able to fulfill the prime minister’s “dream of Sonar Bangla” [Golden Bengal].
Meanwhile, Modi in his speech at the event, accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of betraying the people of the state and promised to bring “real change”.
Earlier, BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, who switched from the Trinamool Congress, criticised the Banerjee-led party. “TMC is not a political party, it has become a private limited company,” he alleged. “Its chairman is called Mamata Banerjee and its MD [managing director] is tolabaaz bhaipo [the extortionist nephew].” Adhikari was referring to Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
With BJP functionaries saying they were “expecting another stalwart from the cultural field”, there were rumours that actor Bengali actor Prosenjit Chatterjee too may attend the event. However, the actor denied the rumours. “I don’t know why such a rumour is being spread,” he said. “Honestly, nobody from BJP has even approached me to be at the Brigade rally. I am in Pune right now, shooting for an advertorial, and will be here till March 21-22. I don’t know why my name is being dragged into all this.”
Further, there are speculations that cricketer Sourav Ganguly would join the rally too. However, he has not made any comments regarding the matter.
Modi is scheduled to hold more than 20 rallies in Bengal during the eight-phase election schedule for the state, according to The Indian Express. The BJP has made arrangements to make the rally a grand success with banners, posters and cut outs of the prime minister being put up across the city to welcome him. The saffron party has also utilised its its social media presence to boost the campaign for the rally.
More than 1,500 CCTV cameras have been installed across the city for security purposes, according to the Hindustan Times. Drone cameras will also be used to monitor the venue.
Elections will start in the state from March 27 and continue till April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
On the same day as Modi’s rally, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will hit the streets in Siliguri protests against the increase in liquified petroleum gas prices, reported The Telegraph. “BJP is looting people by regularly hiking LPG prices,” she tweeted. “Women have been hit the hardest & I’m disgusted at Centre’s lack of intent to cut taxes & lessen their burden. In protest, today I’ll be leading an all women michil at Siliguri.”
The chief minister is planning to woo the women voters by leading the march. She travelled to Siliguri on Saturday and was accompanied by party MPs Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty.
Banerjee will walk a 3.5-km rally from Darjeeling More to Venus More in the city. “On one hand, rice is available for free [by the state government through the public distribution system] while on the other hand, LPG prices are increasing steadily and going beyond the reach of people,” she said upon her arrival at Bagdogra airport. “This cannot simply go on. Tomorrow [Sunday], we will carry cylinders at the rally in protest.”
On March 1, the price of domestic LPG cylinders was again increased by Rs 25, just four days after the previous price revision.
In Kolkata, a 14.2 kg cylinder will now cost Rs 845.50 from Rs 820 earlier. The price of LGP cylinders in Delhi is Rs 819, as against Rs 794 – the price at which it was available last week. LPG cylinders will cost the same in Mumbai.