A group of about 12 actors from West Bengal who star in popular Bengali television serials, with some of them having made their mark on the silver screen, on Thursday joined the BJP here.

The actors namely Rishi Kaushik, Parno Mitra, Kanchana Moitra, Rupanjana Mitra, Biswajit Ganguly, Deb Ranjan Nag, Arindam Halder, Moumita Gupta, Anindya Banerjee, Sourav Chakravorty, Rupa Bhattacharya, Anjana Basu and Kaushik Chakraborty travelled to Delhi from West Bengal to formally become BJP members.

BJP West Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh had earlier said these actors had to travel to Delhi to join the BJP as West Bengal was no longer safe for the people, let alone these popular actors, to join the BJP fold here. The film actors were formally inducted into the BJP in the presence of top BJP leader from Bengal and formal Trinamul Congress leader Mukul Roy as they were presented with saffron and green robes.

But party insiders and political experts see a larger BJP game plan behind the party’s welcoming the Bengali actors today. They see it as a king of star-war in response to the TMC’s successful efforts to rope in political greenhorns and first time MPs Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan. The TMC had earlier picked Tollywood actors Shatabdi Roy, Tapas Pal, Sandhya Roy and Deb to successfully contest the Lok Sabha elections.

Though the crucial West Bengal polls are still a little over a year away in 2021, the BJP is keen on building on the gains it had made in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when the party, in a setback to the ruling TMC, won a historic 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats.

There is speculation in the political circles in the state that chief minister Mamata Banerjee could very well throw a spanner in the BJP’s plans to further consolidate its presence by embracing all sections of the society by announcing early polls in the state.

Anticipating the TMC’s strategy, the BJP has been on an induction spree of political leaders from both the TMC and Left parties even after the Lok Sabha elections.

“Inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi politics of development, people from cross section of society have been joining the BJP,” Sambit Patra said here.