Pro-Trinamool Congress Tollywood artistes, sportspersons and intellectuals on Friday took out a procession in support of the party and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is facing ire over the Saradha scam, and alleged there was a “conspiracy” against West Bengal to project the the state in a bad light.
The “intellectuals”, however, were not sure who to blame for it. Some targeted the CBI, a few hit out at the BJP and the Central government, while the others chose to attack the media.
One budding footballer of Kolkata Maidan even blamed it on Pakistan’s ISI. “There is one ISI in the world which is up to all mischiefs and mayhem,’’ Sharmishta Mandal announced solemnly.
More knowledgeable and older participants were equally confused. While popular Bengali actor Soham alleged the CBI was being used to meet political ends and tarnish the Chief Minister’s image, Rudranil Ghosh, actor and chairman of West Bengal State Council for Vocational Education and Training, said the rally has nothing to do with the probe agency.
“Banglai ekta oposanskriti cholche (Bengal’s culture is being destroyed). There are so many actors involved in it and we have taken to the streets to thwart their attempt,’’ Ghosh said, but he failed to explain why he was participating in a political rally when he holds a government post.
Noted film personalities like TMC MP Deb, Arindam Sil and several other actors participated in the march along with poet Subodh Sarkar, former football stars Samaresh Choudhury, Bidesh Bose and Gautam Sarker. The rally that started from Nandan, the state government auditorium, and stopped just a kilometre away at the gate of Academy of Fine Arts.
Arindam Sil, who was one of the organisers of the rally, said the big turnout at the rally proved that people were still with Mamata Banerjee. “We will not tolerate any insult to Bengal,’’ he said. When asked who was insulting the state, he retorted: “Can’t you see?”, and vanished into the protected environs of Academy of Fine Arts where mediapersons were allowed.
The rally also saw various groups and college students carrying placards that read “Insult of Bengal is our insult”, “Don’t destroy Bengal’s culture”, and other statements. However, the rally saw quite a few pro-Mamata artistes, including actor and MP Mithun Chakrabarty, Moon Moon Sen, Sandhya Roy, Shatabdi Roy, Debashri Roy, Chiranjeet, Prasenjit, Raima Sen and Riya Sen, giving it a miss.
Noted actor Saumitra Chatterjee said he was not invited to attend the rally that was organised to protest the “attack on Bengali culture”. “I heard a rally will be taken out but nobody told me to join it. I am not with them, in fact I have no links with these people,’’ Chatterjee, the last of the legends in Tollygunj, who along with a couple of celebrities of the cinema of Kolkata like Mrinal Sen could not be won over by Mamata, told The Indian Express.