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Mithun Chakraborty as BJP mascot for Durga Puja

Some leaders question dependence on actor
Mithun Chakraborty.
Mithun Chakraborty.
File picture

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 21.09.22, 01:23 AM

Bengal BJP has decided to use former matinee icon Mithun Chakraborty extensively during the ensuing Durga Puja season as part of the party’s reach-out initiatives aimed at strengthening its organisation.

“We have requested him to attend some pre and post-puja events in the state and he has agreed. I am in talks with him to take him to an inauguration of a Puja in my constituency,” state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar, who is also the Balurghat MP, said.


Chakraborty had joined the BJP in 2021, ahead of the Assembly polls, and campaigned extensively for the party across the state.

The actor’s presence made little electoral significance for the BJP and several insiders had asked why the party banked so much on someone like Chakraborty, whose ignorance about local politics got exposed several times during the campaign.

After the BJP’s rout in the polls, the veteran actor wasn’t seen much in the state before July this year when he visited the state BJP headquarters at 6 Muralidhar Sen Lane in Calcutta. During a news conference in the party office, the former Rajya Sabha member said he would be available for the party in any capacity if the leadership demands.

Now that the party wants to utilise the actor in the festive season, many in the BJP believe the decision shows that the Bengal BJP still lacks a face that can pull crowds.

“We understand that Mithunda still dominates the imagination of the rural populace. But why should we depend on him? This means we still don’t have a leader who can be the party’s face,” a source said.

BJP insiders said Chakraborty’s outing during the Durga Puja would be different from his pre-election activities as politics takes a back seat in the state during the festive season.

The BJP had tried to use the festive season for its reach-out initiatives in the autumn of 2020 when the party organised a Durga Puja that was virtually inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The second edition of the puja — after the poll drubbing — was on a much smaller scale. This time also, the party’s puja would not be a big affair, said Majumdar.

“It would be the last Puja by the party.... There is a fund crunch,” said Majumdar.

Multiple sources have said the leadership thinks that instead of organising a Puja in Calcutta, it’s better to use an icon like Chakraborty during the festive season and take him to the different parts of the state. “This will create some excitement ahead of next year’s rural polls,” said a source.

Apart from fielding Chakraborty, the BJP decided to employ a multi-fold approach to expand its mass connect during the festive season. The party MLAs have been asked to prepare posters publicising the projects of the Union government, along with pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and distribute them among Puja committees.

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