The Trinamool Congress on Monday alleged that majority of the BJP leaders of West Bengal are not conversant with the cultural heritage of the state and are uttering dialogues akin to those of Gabbar Singh, the villain of 1975 Hindi film 'Sholay', to the chagrin of people.
These leaders have no idea about the lyricists and singers who enriched Bengali culture, and the love for the state they are professing ahead of the assembly election is not real, Minister of State for Information and Cultural Affairs Indranil Sen claimed in a press conference here.
The assembly poll is due in the state in April-May next year.
"On the birth anniversary of singing icon Manna Dey, a prominent BJP leader tweeted a song of Kishore Kumar to show his respect," Sen, who himself is an acclaimed singer, alleged without naming anyone. "The same leader posted a song of Md Rafi on the birth anniversary of Kishore Kumar, stating that he grew up listening to this Kishore Kumar song. Such is their level of knowledge about the works of the pride of Bengal," he said.
Such BJP leaders, who are mouthing dialogues like those of Gabbar Singh in various areas, are instigating fights between brothers", Sen alleged but did not elaborate. "People of Bengal may enjoy films filled with action and goondagiri. They may clap after hearing Gabbar Singh-type dialogues in jatra (folk theatres) and films. But in real life, they will never accept those elements who utter such words," he said.
That these BJP leaders are divorced from Bengal's culture was proved from the fact that none of them took part in the last journey of legendary actor Soumitra Chatterjee on November 15, though "I have information that some of them were present at a party meeting at Jadavpur (in south Kolkata) around the same time on that day," Sen said.
Prominent leaders of the Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M) seen walking in a procession following a hearse carrying the mortal remains of Chatterjee from the Rabindra Sadan, a government auditorium, to Keoratala crematorium here.
Several BJP leaders had, however, put wreaths on the actor's body at Rabindra Sadan where it was kept for the public to pay their tributes.
Sen said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was in touch with Chatterjee's family since he was hospitalised on October 6 as she, "rising above ideological differences", believed in giving due respect and recognition to those who made the state proud.
Chatterjee was a staunch Leftist.
On the development programmes of the TMC government, Sen said that from Tuesday to January 28, 2021, the administration will reach out to people living in 344 blocks as part of the "Duare Duare Paschimbabga Sarkar" (West Bengal government at every doorstep) initiative.
Banerjee on November 23 announced this scheme for redressing grievances of people at the block level.
Also from December one, all people of the state would come under the Swasthya Sathi, the state governments health insurance scheme "which is unique and unprecedented in the entire country", the minister said.
"Since 2011, our honourable CM has introduced several such social welfare schemes. The Centre and many other states later came out with similar projects, either imitating the original one or inspired by it," he claimed.
The TMC does not create division between Bengali and Non-Bengali population and believes in inclusiveness, Sen said and named several luminaries who hailed from outside the state but made Bengal their homes and got thousands of followers.
He said that 1.94 lakh folk artists are getting monthly financial assistance from the state.
To a question, he said that the chief minister will decide whether she will attend a virtual meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 4 to discuss Covid situation.
Claiming that the PM did not discuss with Lok Sabha member or chief ministers before announcing the lockdown, he said, "We think such meetings are nothing but eyewash."
Asked to comment on disgruntled TMP MLA Suvendu Adhikari, who recently resigned as minister, stating at a public meeting on Sunday that "people are the last word," Sen said, "He is right. That is why 10 crore people of the state are with our leader Mamata Banerjee."
Sen said that fund allocation for cultural projects was Rs 61 crore before the TMC came to power in 2011 in the state and it has been increased to Rs 631 crore now.
Ten new academies have also been set up by the TMC government for the promotion of various cultural forms, he said.