Mithun Chakraborty, the actor-turned-politician who was formerly a Rajya Sabha member of the Trinamool Congress, is likely to share the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground. Whether the movie star will campaign for the BJP in the upcoming West Bengal Assembly election — or join the party — is yet unclear.
The Sunday event will come days after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat met him at his Mumbai bungalow on 16 February, sparking speculation of him shifting loyalties. Mithun had, of course, laughed off the suggestion after his meeting with Bhagwat.
Sources in the BJP, however, say that Mithun Chakraborty is one of the many important faces the party will deploy against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s regime. “There are many Bengalis in the state and outside who are important people, concerned about Bengal’s downward slide under Mamata Banerjee,” said state BJP Vice-President Jay Prakash Majumdar. “Mithun Chakraborty is one of them.”
The 70-year-old has a huge fan following in the state — as much as in many other parts of the country — especially after his 2006 film, MLA Fatakeshto, with his legendary line, “Maarbo ekhane, lash porbay shoshaney (I’ll beat you here, your body will be found at the crematorium)”.
Mithun quit the Rajya Sabha after two years in office as he got embroiled in the Saradha Chit Fund case. The actor was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate about the Rs 1.2 crore he had received for being the brand ambassador of a TV news channel financed by the group. He returned the amount to the probe agency and resigned from the Upper House citing ill-health.
What he says about the Trinamool Congress and Mamata Banerjee from Narendra Modi’s stage tomorrow will be crucial. Earlier after joining the AITC, Mithun had said in an interview that he had once campaigned for CPI(M)’s Subhas Chakraborty because of his personal relationship with the communist politician’s family and had then joined the AITC again for his relationship with Mamata Banerjee. He had said in the interview that personal relationships were the foremost in his list of priorities.
West Bengal is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with TMC, Indian National Congress (INC)-Left alliance and the BJP in the fray.
Besides, some more important Bengali faces are set to join the BJP in the coming weeks, sources said. The state election will be held across eight phases from 27 March to 29 April, the results of which will be declared on 2 May.