As election-time temperature soars in West Bengal, political parties have opened their doors to local cine-stars, virtually offering them an alternative career path to join the mainstream electoral politics.
A slew of Bengal Tollywood celebrities have recently joined both the camps of the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress and its arch-rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Last week, actor Sayani Ghosh, Kanchan Mallick, director Raj Chakraborty and many other members of Kolkata’s film and television fraternity had joined the ruling formation. Actress Sayantika Bandopadhyay has also joined the Trinamool in the presence of state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee.
Interestingly, Trinamool Congress yesterday organised a unique workshop for celebrities where the party’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien trained all the newly inducted Tollywood personalities how to do campaign and win hearts of the general voters.
The workshop, which went on for over one-and-a-half hours, was attended by Chakraborty, Sudeshna Roy, Manali Dey, Sourav Das, Ranita Das, Sreetama Bhattacharya and many others.
According to sources, the celebrities were told not to indulge in personal attacks and talk more about the development schemes that the Trinamool Congress had introduced in Bengal in the last 10 years.
They were also given a book which has all the details of every state government schemes and benefits. The celebrities were instructed to study the book thoroughly and mix up with the voters to win support for the party.
“We have been told to reach out to the people with the information about the state government’s performance. They have given us all the details of the state government schemes that have been introduced so far. Now we need to share there with the people as much as possible,” said Chakraborty.
“When I had started my career, I was not a director. But slowly I learnt the tricks of the trade. The workshop was also targeted at making all of us politically aware about the party’s guidelines, the state government’s various schemes and its performance in the last 10 years. Such workshops are really effective for people like us who have come to the mainstream political arena from different fields,” said Sudeshna Roy.
Last month, a bunch of Bengali film industry personalities such as actors Yash Dasgupta, Soumili Ghosh Biswas, Papiya Adhikari, Minakshi Ghosh, Sutapa Mukherjee, Tramila Bhattacharya and Mallika Bannerjee, director Raj Mukherjee, producer-director Atanu Roy and music director Subhayu Bedoggo had joined the saffron camp, barely a few weeks ahead of the high-octane state Assembly elections.
Actor Hiran Chatterjee, who was known as a Trinamool insider, also joined the BJP and was seen campaigning with the party’s state unit president Dilip Ghosh in Malda and South Dinajpur districts last month.
If the right-wing forces are scoring on local celebrity quotient, how can the Left parties be far behind?
On February 28 at a mega show at Kolkata’s Brigade parade ground, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) had showcased a number of celebrities like actor Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Badaga Moitra, director Aneek Dutta and Kamaleswar Mukherjee, among others, who openly campaigned for the Left-Congress-Indian Secular Front (ISF) alliance.