The Election season is here and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has sprung a surprise for all voters. Didi’s state sends a grand total of 42 Lok Sabha candidates and this time, the green brigade employed not battle-hardened politicians, but celebrities with a lot of influence among the masses. Mamata dropped 10 current and seasoned parliamentarians and allotted 41 percent of the seats to women. The use of local celebrities as candidates is not new to the Trinamool Congress.
The list of celebrity candidates includes Nusrat Jahan, who will be contesting from Basirhat, replacing Idrish Ali. Actress Mimi Chakraborty will be contesting from Jadavpur, instead of Sugato Bose, a Harvard University professor and historian. Mamata cited that “he did not get permission from his university" to contest the elections. Meanwhile, actress Satabdi Roy and Deepak Adhikari (Dev) are likely to retain their seats for Birbhum and Ghatal respectively. As for Moon Moon Sen, she will be contesting Asansol, going against Bollywood singer and BJP minister Babul Supriyo. Moving from Tollywood, former Indian football captain and Arjuna awardee Prasun Banerjee has been re-nominated for Howrah constituency.
A TMC Rajya Sabha MP reportedly said that the employment of celebs served two purposes. “There is, of course, our welfare measures. The party contests elections on the basis of our governance. But these stars can help amplify that. They also draw crowds. Not just in their constituencies, but also in adjacent seats where they might campaign. People flock in large numbers, especially in the rural belts, to catch a glimpse,” he was quoted as saying by the media.
West Bengal will be voting in all the seven stages in this year’s elections, which begin from April 11. With Congress and the Left expected to be contesting together, and TMC going against the BJP, Bengal is likely to be a massive battleground for politicians. Reports said that Mamata plans to assign other party work for the people whose names are not on the list of candidates.