State minister and theatre personality Bratya Basu tore into the BJP on Friday, accusing it of “not believing in the culture of theatre” and stopping all grants for its promotion across India, especially in West Bengal. Basu said the Opposition party, which is in power at the Centre, was essentially “anti-theatre” and views it with suspicion.
At a press conference at the TMC headquarters here, Basu said, “The BJP can bring singers and filmstars from Mumbai, but no theatre personalities. It is against the promotion of theatre. It is trying to promote a different type of culture in the state. The theatre personalities will take to the streets to protest against this.”
Several theatre personalities joined the ruling party on Friday. The minister pointed out theatre’s connection to politics and said that since Independence theatre personalities had never been accorded the respect they deserve by parties in power. Theatre artists were not seen in the Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha till Mamata Banerjee came to power, Basu added.
In a press release, the TMC said, “Artists from drama and theatre have historically been at the frontlines of struggle. In just 10 years, Mamata Banerjee has spent Rs 100 crore for the development of the culture of theatre. Whenever we from the world of theatre went to Mamata Banerjee, she wanted to know about us and wanted to solve our problems. This year also 400 groups are getting grants from the state government.”
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TMC Rajya Sabha member Arpita Ghosh accused the BJP of stopping several grants for the promotion of art and culture.
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