KOLKATA: Former TMC Rajya Sabha MP and Bengali actor Mithun Chakrabarty, who joined the BJP and shared the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground, have raised a new slogan for the upcoming Assembly elections.
Accusing Bengal’s ruling party of following the politics of violence, Chakrabarty reminded a famous dialogue of his Bengali film and said he would use the new slogan during the campaign.
"Earlier it was marbo ekhane, lash porbe shoshane (I will beat you here, your body will be found in a crematorium). It has become old now. I have prepared a new slogan for the campaigns in this election. It is aami jaldhora noi, helebora noi, aami jaat gokhro, ek chobolei chobi (I am a venomous snake-like Indian cobra, if I bite you, you will be dead)," he said as the crowd roared.
The National Award-winning actor said he had always wanted to work for the underprivileged, and the saffron camp has given him a platform to fulfil his aspiration.
Chakrabarty was handed over a party flag by BJP’s West Bengal president Dilip Ghosh. The actor was once known for his close proximity with former transport and sports minister Subhas Chakrabarty during the Left Front regime.
Later, he then shifted sides and became TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP. However, had quit the Upper House in 2016 after his name surfaced in the Saradha Ponzi scam.
Sources in the BJP said he would start participating in poll campaigns from March 12.
Praising Chakrabarty, Modi said, "Mithun Chakrabarty is among us today. He struggled in his life and achieved what he is today. He is blessed by Lokenath Thakur".
Reacting to Chakrabarty’s new slogan, TMC MP and spokesperson Saugata Roy said, "He changed his political allegiance several times. I do not want to give him importance."
He also asserted that he was proud to be a Bengali.
"I always wanted to do something big in life, but had never dreamt of being a part of such a huge rally which is to be addressed by world's most popular leader Narendra Modi.
I wished to work for the poorer sections of our society, and that wish will now be fulfilled," he said.
Vijayvargiya, who visited Chakraborty at his residence here on Saturday evening, had announced that he would be participating in the rally.
Last month, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat met the actor at his Mumbai bungalow over breakfast, setting off speculation that he might join the BJP.
The septuagenarian actor, a former Naxalite, sprang to stardom with his role as a tribal archer in Mrinal Sen's film 'Mrigayaa' in 1976 for which he won the National Film Award for the best actor.
An alumni of Kolkata's prestigious Scottish Church College, which boasts of Subhash Chandra Bose, Nepal's first Prime Minister B P Koirala and Gopinath Bordoloi, the first chief minister of Assam, as its students, Chakraborty was seen as a politically conscious actor and often cast by Leftist movie directors.
His joining the Trinamool Congress, a left of centre regional party, consequently did not come as a surprise.
However, his move to join the BJP, a right of centre party is seen as a complete break from his past political views.
Chakraborty, however, defended his decision by stating he remained consistent in his desire to serve the poor.
Chakraborty became a popular name in Bollywood and in foreign film markets like the former Soviet Union in the 1980s when he starred in a string of action movies, family dramas and musicals.
Among his box office hits were 'Disco Dancer', 'Kasam Paida Karne wale Ki' and 'Commando'.
His action movies won him a large following among youth growing up in the 1980s to 2000s.
Parallel to his Bollywood career, Chakraborty also became a star in the Bengali film industry with major productions such as 'Nadi theke Sagare', 'Troyee', 'Kalankini Kankabati' and 'MLA Fatakeshto', making him a household name in Bengal.
(With ANI and PTI Inputs)