West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee ties rakhi on Shah Rukh Khan’s wrist in Kolkata.(File photo)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee ties rakhi on Shah Rukh Khan’s wrist in Kolkata.(File photo)

Mamata Banerjee made Shah Rukh Khan brand ambassador as he’s a Khan: Bengal BJP chief

Ghosh was singling out Banerjee after the TMC accused the BJP of being a party of outsiders that depends on Hindi-speaking leaders from Delhi and other states for the crucial assembly polls due early next year.
By Tanmay Chatterjee | Hindustan Times, Kolkata
UPDATED ON NOV 26, 2020 09:59 PM IST

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee made Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan the state’s brand ambassador because he is a Khan, state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Dilip Ghosh said at a rally in Krishnagar in Nadia district on Thursday afternoon. The BJP won the Ranaghat Lok Sabha seat in Nadia district in 2019.

Taking forward the tussle with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) that has accused the BJP of being a party of “outsiders” that depends on Hindi-speaking leaders from Delhi and other states for the crucial assembly polls due in about five months, Ghosh singled out Banerjee in his speech.

“The BJP is called outsiders here but if you (Banerjee) wanted a superstar as brand ambassador for West Bengal then you could have chosen Dev, a popular hero and Lok Sabha member. Alternatively, you could have made legendary actor Soumitra Chatterjee the brand ambassador. But you selected Shah Rukh Khan. Don’t we understand why? You need a Khan. Others will not do. We all know that you need a Khan for electoral politics,” said Ghosh.

Actor Deepak Adhikari, popularly known as Dev, is the TMC Lok Sabha member from Ghatal in West Midnapore. Soumitra Chatterjee, an icon in Bengal, died recently in Kolkata at the age of 85.

Muslims comprise around 30 % of Bengal’s population.This is not the first time the BJP has accused Banerjee of turning to minorities to secure her vote bank. The BJP won 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats last year and had campaigned against the CM along these lines.

TMC’s senior Lok Sabha MP and party spokesperson Saugata Roy said, “Dilip Ghosh, who always wears his communal glasses, cannot see the reality or understand that the chief minister made Khan the brand ambassador of Bengal not because of his surname but because of the fact that he is extremely popular not just in India but beyond the borders.”

“Ghosh is talking about [Soumitra] Chatterjee but neither he nor any of the state BJP leaders took part in his funeral procession and the last rites where the chief minister was present for hours. It was a state funeral. The actor was earlier honoured by her with the Banga Bibhushan award. Dev, because of his popularity, is a two-time MP and serves the people,” said Roy.

In February 2012, Khan formally accepted Banerjee’s proposal to become the state’s brand ambassador. The acceptance came in the form of a letter to the chief minister. She had requested the movie icon during a chat after the inauguration of the 17th Kolkata film Festival in November 2011, months after ousting the 34-year-old Left Front government. Khan had initially verbally agreed to the chief minister’s appeal.

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