TMC never allowed celebrity MLAs to work for their constituencies, says BJP's Rudranil Ghosh
The TMC turncoat who is BJP's candidate from Mamata Banerjee's home constituency Bhabanipur also alleged that MPs and MLAs in the TMC can't even spend welfare funds for the development of their areas because of the cut-money business
New Delhi/Kolkata: Clad in an oversized kurta and blue jeans a 20-year old boy along with his friends used to write political slogans on the walls of Kolkata with red ink. Those lanes and bylanes are still there. Some of those walls are still there while some have vanished with the urbanisation of Kolkata. But now, it is a story of a new world, and his name is being written on those walls with saffron colour.
From being an active Left-wing student leader from Howrah's Narasinha Das College to being a close confidante of Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, one of the finest Bengali theatre and film actor, Rudranil Ghosh is now a BJP leader. Ghosh is fighting the 2021 election from the Bhabanipur constituency where Banerjee lives and has been elected MLA twice.
"Fighting from Bhabanipur constituency is a big responsibility," says Ghosh after finishing a day-long campaign schedule.
Munching his dinner at half-past midnight, Ghosh says, "I was disillusioned with the Left because they were saying something and doing something else. I was tired and pained to see the hypocrisy. After quitting the Left, I was just observing the political dynamics of Bengal and then the Banerjee-led government came into power. I saw some ray of hope within her, but I was wrong indeed."
Under the TMC government, Ghosh headed the West Bengal State Council of Vocational Education and Training, thereafter he was the Commissioner of Right to Public Service.
During the 2014 election, Ghosh was also a star campaigner for the TMC.
This time, Banerjee, has left the Bhabanipur constituency for veteran TMC leader Sobhandeb Chattyopadhay, and is fighting from the Nandigram constituency against her former right-hand man Subhendu Adhikari who joined the BJP before the election.
Ghosh says that his status as a Bengali celebrity is not the reason why he was picked as a candidate from the Bhabaniur constiteuncy.
"Bhabanipur constituency has 40 percent Bengali speaking voters and 60 percent non-Bengali speaking voters. I am not a celebrity candidate from this seat because I have only worked on Bengali movies. If the BJP wanted to field a celebrity candidate why would they nominate me from a seat where 60 percent of voters have never watched my movies? They gave this responsibility because the BJP leadership knows that I am a people's person," says Ghosh.
Some months ago when reports over Ghosh joining the BJP came to the light, the TMC hit back saying that the actor-turned-politician was a "shubidhabadi (opportunist)".
"After quitting Left politics, I was one of the few actors of Bengal who did not join the TMC. I was observing the politics of Mamata Banerjee. If I am an opportunist then I should have had jumped into the TMC car immediately. During my tenure at the West Bengal government, I have repeatedly raised questions against the functioning of the departments. An opportunist should take benefit and never question. So, how can they say that I am an opportunist?" he says.
Accusing the TMC of cut money, corruption, killings, harassments, and misgovernance to autocracy, Ghosh says that today's Mamata Banerjee is a very different person from the one he used to admire. He alleges that the West Bengal chief minister never took actions against the complaints of corruption.
He also alleged that because Banerjee has been protecting the corrupt leaders, leaders who want to work for the people of Bengal are joining the BJP.
"The so-called heavyweight leader and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee could not safeguard her own constituency. During the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the TMC was in Bhabanipur, and BJP was at the top. People of Bhabanipur are tired of the corruption of the TMC and have made up their mind to throw the TMC out of Bengal to make Bengal Shonar Bangla under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah," he says.
Ghosh alleges that the TMC, the Left and Congress have come together to portray the BJP as a communal party.
"Have you heard Modi in Kolkata talking about Hindu-Muslim? He is talking about Shonar Bangla and the Opposition is defaming the BJP as a communal party. I am learning about their ideology, but I have never heard about any communal statement from my leaders," says Ghosh.
Slamming the Banerjee-led TMC, Ghosh also alleges that the ruling party does not allow its celebrity MLAs and MPs to work. This time also the TMC has given tickets to many celebrities just like the BJP.
"TMC gives tickets to the celebrities to get votes in rural Bengal. Not a single celebrity MLA or MP is allowed to work. They cannot even spend the money of MLA or MP welfare funds for the development of their areas because of the cut-money business. On the other hand, look at the BJP. Babul Supriyo who is a celebrity and also Central Minister is working relentlessly for the people," he claims.
Fully confident about his victory, Ghosh wants to work in the education sector as he has prior experience in running the vocational education council. He says that under Banerjee's rule and also under the 35-year of Left rule, the education sector of Bengal suffered a lot. He says that education and generating employment would be the key focus of his work.
"We will make Shonar Bangla. Defaming the BJP and killing our supporters will not be accepted by the people of Bengal. Banerjee has cheated the people and today it is the time to give her a befitting response. BJP under the leadership of Modi will work on the development of Bengal. We will create employment, ensure education and good healthcare. That is the Shonar Bangla and not Bangla of cut-money," he says.
The author is a fellow at the Delhi Assembly Research Centre and a freelance journalist who writes on issues of governance and politics. He can be reached at @sayantan_gh
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