Kolkata, Feb 5 (PTI) A feeling of fear and intimidation has been created by the BJP government at the Centre over famers' agitation and it appears that many celebrities are being 'forced' to tweet against the movement at 'gunpoint,' West Bengal minister Bratya Basu said on Friday.
Basu, a prominent stage and screen personality himself besides being a director and playwright, said that identical words and phrases have been shared in the tweets of some celebrities deriding the agitation by the farmers against the new farm laws of the Centre.
'It seems these tweets were extracted at gun point,' he said.
Comments by international celebrities Rihanna and Greta Thunberg on the microblogging site show that the agitation has created ripples outside the country as well, Basu said.
He decried the trolling of actor Taapsee Pannu for her support to and solidarity with the farmers' movement. The trolling shows how 'fear and persecution' pervades the country now.
Drawing parallels with other states of the country, he said 'Despite so much criticism, mocking of our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, despite so much unfair, crude and personal remarks against her and the TMC, democracy prevails in West Bengal.
'We are not a regime that will imprison scores of activists like Varvara Rao for speaking against the establishment. Our government is not vindictive like the BJP,' he iterated.
Basu took a swipe at TMC turncoats who went to Delhi recently in a chartered flight to join BJP and wondered whether the saffron party gave any importance to its local leaders.
'This indicates that the central leadership in Delhi controls everything in BJP and doe snot acknowledge the role of state-level leaders. This is insulting.' In contrast, local Trinamool Congress leaders induct people from different fields into the party. 'This is because we give importance and respect to our local leaders as well as state-level leaders,' he said.
He said that the entry of several actors of Tollygunj film industry into TMC proved that 'not everyone has sold themselves to the lure of chartered flights'. A few actors in the Bengali film industry mulling joining BJP should think about it again though it is a matter of individual choice.
Asked to comment on BJP plans to hold a Rathyatra across the poll-bound state, Basu said TMC has nothing to say about it.
'But people know BJP's Rathyatra will be bereft of the ideology of Sri Chaitanya. It will not promote love among the people, but only hatred and division.' Basu said the 'Duare Sarkar' (government at the doorstep) programme has attracted huge participation by the people. Already 2.7 crore having visited the camps and 77 per cent of them have enlisted at the outreach programme to avail the benefits of 12 schemes of the TMC government.
'The opposition is only spreading canards about the campaign,' he added.
Veteran actor Dipankar Dey, who has in the past featured in films by Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Tapan Sinha joined TMC during the day in Basu's presence.
Critically acclaimed actor Bharat Kaul and musician Saona Khan too joined the party. PTI SUS KK KK KK