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BJP tiptoes into Mamata’s film fief

Calcutta, Aug. 12: The Bengal BJP today took a baby step into a territory Mamata Banerjee straddles and flaunts — art and culture.

State BJP president Rahul Sinha launched a platform for people from the world of film, theatre and music at a programme in Calcutta’s Ashutosh Memorial Hall. The platform, Shatadale Chalachchitra Mancha Gaan (Film, Theatre and Music in a Lotus), will take up the causes of people from these professions, Sinha said.

No big names from the world of art and culture were, however, seen at the programme as most of them have sided with the Trinamul Congress.

“We wanted one organisation that would work towards protecting the interests of the film industry, theatre and jatra. Watching film stars dance or dancing with them will not help solve the problems the film industry is facing. This platform will not distinguish between us and them. Everybody is welcome here,” Sinha said.

The chief minister is often seen surrounded by film and TV celebrities at public events. Many of them have become MPs and MLAs on Trinamul tickets.

At the BJP programme, actors George Baker and Joy Banerjee, both of whom contested the Lok Sabha polls unsuccessfully, were the only known faces on the dais. Actress Papiya Adhikari, a regular at CPM events, was in the audience. Filmmaker Milan Bhowmik is the secretary of the organisation.

“Many actors, musicians and technicians are discriminated against and do not get work for refusing to toe the Trinamul line. Our main aim is to help these people get work,” Baker said.

The BJP platform today handed a 23-point charter of demands to Sinha. The list includes the reopening of 400 cinemas, guaranteed work for artistes and technicians for 100 days a year, stringent anti-piracy laws and prevention of dubbed Hindi and south Indian films from releasing in Bengal.