Kolkata: Continuing with her habit for introducing silver screen personalities to politics, Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee has fielded five film stars, including two greenhorns, for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. She had done a similar act in the 2014 polls nominating five cinestars and all had won.
In West Bengal film personalities rarely forayed into the political scenario… more so during the era of the Left Front between 1977 and 2011. Banerjee changed all that in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls when she nominated Tapas Pal and Shatabdi Roy. Both emerged victorious.
Nominating Mimi Chakraborty, a popular actress in Bengali cinema and a political novice, from the prestigious Jadavpur MP constituency for the 2019 elections has come as a surprise to many.
In fact it was from this constituency that Banerjee had burst into electoral politics in 1984 as a young Congress candidate, by handing a stunning defeat to CPIM leader Somnath Chatterjee.
Another political greenhorn, actor Nusrat Jahan has been fielded from the Basirhat MP constituency in North 24 Parganas district, a seat now held by TMC’s Idris Ali.
Apart from these two, actors and sitting MPs Deepak Adhikari, popularly known as Dev, Satabdi and Munmun Sen will also contest.
While Dev and Satabdi would seek re-election from Ghatal and Birbhum seats respectively, Sen has been shifted from Bankura to Asansol, which was won by singer-turned-politician Babul Supriyo of the BJP last time.
The TMC has dropped sitting MPs Pal and Sandhya Roy, well-known film stars of yesteryears. It should be mentioned here that Pal had been arrested by the CBI in December 2016 in connection with the Rose Valley chitfund scam and is at present out on bail.
The trend of cine stars joining electoral politics has been a regular affair in the southern states, with former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MG Ramachandran as the pioneer and Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan being the latest entrants.
The BJP has also tried to counter TMC by bringing in star power. Supriyo, a playback singer who also dabbled in acting, was one of the two BJP candidates who won in 2014. He was also made a minister of state.
Actor Roopa Ganguly, who achieved national fame for her portrayal of the role of Draupadi in mega teleserial Mahabharat, is a Rajya Sabha MP of the BJP.