Roy targets actresses who lost but avoids mention of BJP heavyweights or the 'Cobra' who flopped
The former state president of BJP in Bengal on Tuesday lashed out at 'stupid' actresses fielded by BJP who lost. But he was conspicuously silent on Babul Supriyo and Swapan Dasgupta and others
Tatagatha Roy – jobless since his badly tainted tenure as Governor of Meghalaya ended in mid-2020 – has underlined his misogynist and patriarchal mindset by attacking Bengali actresses who contested the West Bengal election on BJP tickets but lost. The timing of Roy’s assault; 48 hours after the landslide victory of the Trinamul Congress coinciding with J. P. Nadda’s arrival in Kolkata to buck up demoralised BJP cadres; shows that 74-year-old Roy is dying for attention even as Narenda Modi and Amit Shah are too embarrassed to be seen in Bengal after the debacle.
On May 4, Roy trained his guns on a bunch of film and television actresses young enough to be his daughters or grand-daughters who were fielded by the BJP. He branded four of them – Parno Mitra, Payel Sarkar, Srabanti Chatterjee and Tanushree Chakraborty - “so politically stupid that they had gone on a steamer trip with TMC’s playboy-politician Madan Mitra less than a month before elections and shot selfies with him”.
Not content with naming and shaming young women who lost the elections, Roy fired volleys at BJP leaders who nominated them. He wrote: “Film and TV actors who never had anything to do with politics, let alone BJP, were handed tickets by BJP’s election management team. All were roundly defeated. What great qualities were these women possessed of? Kailash Vijayvargiya, Dilip Ghosh & Co must answer”
Roy’s nitpicking proves that an idle mind is the Devil’s workshop. On his return from Shillong, Roy has been consigned to the margins. He has not been assigned any organisational responsibilities. His fervent pleas to Shah to give him a role fell on deaf ears. As a former president of the BJP’s Bengal unit, Roy thinks he has a got a raw deal from the party he nurtured in a hostile environment. He is so frustrated that he doesn’t miss any opportunity to turn the spotlight on himself usually by shooting his mouth off.
Roy’s latest remarks are devoid of common sense. There is nothing unusual about BJP debutantes from the world of entertainment being unable to win when the electorate is in a mood to punish the BJP. The defeat of the BJP’ glamour brigade should be viewed against the background of voters’ preference for Trinamul Congress candidates over BJP nominees. Simple.
If anyone is to be blamed, it’s neither the young actresses who succumbed to the lure of electoral politics, Vijayvargia or Ghosh but Modi and Shah who were the face of the BJP as much as Mamata Banerjee was the face of the Trinamul Congress. But Roy, who is known to threaten and bully the weak, can’t muster the courage to hold Modi and Shah responsible as they would snuff out his stuttering political career before he can bat an eyelid.
I think the most problematic part of Roy’s attack on actresses is accusing them of going on a pleasure trip with Trinamul Congress leader, Madan Mitra, who he describes as a playboy-politician. This is highly objectionable and patently slanderous if the women he has publicly and deliberately humiliated by questioning their character take him to court.
Both the Trinamul Congress and BJP fielded actresses and actors in the do-or die election. As things turned out, only three Trinamul Congress nominees - Saayoni Ghosh, Sayantika Banerjee and Koushani Mukherjee - lost. But Raj Chakraborty, Aditi Munshi, June Maliah, Kanchan Mallick, Lovely Maitra and Soham Chakraborty won. Only Agimitra Paul and Hiran Chatterjee nominated by the BJP managed to win. The list of BJP nominees who lost is long: Parno Mitra, Payel Sarkar, Srabanti Chatterjee, Tanushree Chakraborty, Rudranil Ghosh, Yash Dasgupta, Papia Adhikari and Anjana Basu.
Roy chose to rub salt into the wounds of only four losers because he seems to have calculated that they lack the capacity to hit back. Indirectly, he has also accused them and those who gave then nominations, of pocketing BJP funds. Roy wrote that a “BJP ticket carries with it substantial money to fight the elections”. He wondered what happened to the election funds – hinting at their misappropriation by unscrupulous men and women in the BJP.
Roy is conspicuously silent about the rout of two sitting BJP MPs from the world of entertainment who Modi and Shah fielded in the West Bengal assembly elections. Playback singer Babul Supriyo and actress Locket Chatterjee suffered humiliating defeats. Supriyo was specifically ordered to contest the Tollygunje seat – where Tollywood is based – so that the BJP could systematically take over the Bengali film industry. But he lost badly to Arup Biswas, one of Mamata Banerjee’s trusted lieutenants. Supriyo is not only a BJP MP but a union minister who was eying the CM’s post!
Most figures from the world of entertainment deployed by the BJP in a bid to capture Bengal turned out to be men and women of straw. Modi personally inducted Mithun Chakraborty – arguably the biggest Bengali film personality alive - into the BJP at a mega rally in the Brigade Parade Ground to turn the tables on Mamata Banerjee. Apparently, Chakraborty bit the bait as Modi promised him the chief-ministership of Bengal. But he proved to be a super flop. He cut a sorry figure. In fact, he was nowhere to be seen – amply demonstrating how BJP lost the plot.
But Roy doesn’t dare to criticise or berate Chakraborty as he values his solar plexus in his old age!
( The writer is an award winning journalist. Views are personal)