In a serious setback to Amit Shah‘s efforts to woo key people in Bengal ahead of the next year’s Lok Sabha polls, several top names from Kolkata’s world of art and culture have refused to meet BJP president.
Notable among them are veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee, former Supreme Court Judge Ashok Ganguly, activist-writer Santosh Rana, theatre stars Rudraprasad Sengupta, Chandan Sen and Manoj Mitra, singer Amar Paul and painter Samir Aich, reported The Hindu.
Chatterjee’s refusal to attend either of the two key programmes presided over by Shah was due to his ‘particular displeasure at the demonetisation and the party’s politics of targeting communities.’ Manoj Mitra, for his part, was quoted by The Hindu as saying, “He( BJP’s Mukul Roy) wanted to know more about our work and then invited me to the programme on Bankim Chandra. I found it exciting, but told him I can’t attend.”
Shah was scheduled to meet many of them on Wednesday at a south Kolkata auditorium. Most of them acknowledged the invite, but had made their intention known to the saffron party. Some even reportedly said it bluntly that they did not want to meet Shah or attend his lecture on writer Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, who wrote India’s national song Vande Mataram.
Shah was scheduled to be in Kolkata on Wednesday to hold a string of meetings with the party’s West Bengal leadership and intellectuals and would also meet the bereaved families of the three BJP activists allegedly killed recently in Purulia, during his two day visit to the state from 27 June.
“He would conduct three meetings with party’s election committee, IT cell and Bengal intellectuals on the first day to take stock of the situation here. On the second day, he would be flying in a helicopter to Purulia district where three of our activists were murdered recently,” state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Dilip Ghosh was quoted by IANS.