Why Khali campaigning in Kolkata is too much for a faint-hearted Bengali!

Poulomi Ghosh
Poulomi GhoshApr 28, 2019 | 17:01

Why Khali campaigning in Kolkata is too much for a faint-hearted Bengali!

Khali's presence translated into fear.

Bengalis are believed to be diminutive, physically weak (poor digestive system and all), meek and timid in comparison to their counterparts belonging to other parts of the country.

Instead of muscle power, they would prefer a debate over an evening cup of tea.

Of course, this is a stereotype despite the unbridled terror every election in Bengal witnesses — but its presence in our mind space is probably stronger than Khali!


On Friday, WWE wrestler The Great Khali came down to Kolkata to campaign for Anupam Hazra, the BJP’s Jadavpur constituency candidate.

It is not every day that you get to see a man with a height of 7 feet, 1 inch, weighing 157 kg, travelling in a slow-moving open jeep in Kolkata. So, the rally, notwithstanding BJP’s presence in Kolkata, drew a large crowd. Obviously, they went to see the gargantuan Khali — the first Indian WWE champion.

The photos of Khali eclipsing everyone around went viral on social media.

khali1_042819040520.jpgOn a high: The candidate coming across as taller than Khali must have major secret powers. Or a secret stool. (Photo: India Today)

We don’t know whether it was a strategy loaded with much symbolism: Anupam Hazra was propped up by a stool or something like that, so that he could come across as taller than Khali.

Now, Dalip Singh Rana — known as the Great Khali — is originally from Himachal Pradesh. What’s his connection with West Bengal or Jadavpur to be specific? That is a mind-boggling question because we have never seen so much ‘muscle’ in an election rally. Our star campaigners were always talented in the departments of soft skills — like acting, music, at the most, cricket. But wrestling is something Bengalis do not identify with on a daily basis. (Please don’t start looking for the names of legendary Bengali wrestlers).


So, what happened was exactly what was apprehended — or probably, intended.

Khali’s presence translated into fear.

The Trinamool moved the Election Commission, complaining against the state BJP for roping in US citizens for campaigning. (Yes, Khali is a US citizen). 

khali_042819040659.jpgYes, we are intimidated. (Photo: India Today)

Now, Anupam Hazra is an ex-Trinamool. He was a TMC MP from Bolpur Lok Sabha Constituency. Early this year, he was expelled from the party for apparently indulging in 'anti-party activities'. Soon, he joined the BJP and got the ticket from Jadavpur, contesting against Tollywood actress Mimi Chakraborty (TMC) and ex-Kolkata mayor Bikash Bhattacharya (CPM).

Apparently, Khali is Anupam's friend and came to Kolkata only because of his close personal terms. 

"When he (Khali) came to know I am fighting elections, he said he will come... It is because of our bonding that he came. He has never been to any such event earlier," Anupam said.

Now, this is what happens when you shun your roots and embrace outside culture. You make weird friends. We are not saying this. Every Bengali mom is saying this!


Last updated: April 29, 2019 | 01:36
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