Mimi Chakrabarty and Nusrat Jahan: Didi's new trick or a flawed political strategy?

While political analysts may write off these two inexperienced Tollywood imports, they may actually do wonders.

 |  4-minute read |   21-03-2019
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When numerous cracks require an instant fix, the best way is to improve the facade and sweep everything under a flashy, dazzling carpet.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee has resorted to this policy while pitching candidates for at least three Lok Sabha seats.

A popular and senior film actress, Moon Moon Sen — who is also in the fray — dubbed the entry of fresh faces from the film world as encouraging with “so many pretty faces contesting the election.”

Budding Bengali film actors Mimi Chakrabarty and Nusrat Jahan have been pitched from two politically significant seats.

One of the seats, Jadavpur, has always been a high-profile seat, with the likes of Somnath Chatterjee, Malini Bhattacharya and Mamata having been the sitting MPs in the past.

Basirhat, the other constituency which is close to the Bangladesh border, had been a CPM-stronghold for eight terms, till the TMC wrested it in 2009.

But going by the poll arithmetic, with anti-incumbency and communal tension creating space for Hindu consolidation, Mamata’s trump card is Nusrat, non-political and attractive.

In 2009, when the TMC won Basirhat, the party’s face was the communal and aggressive Haji Nurul. The border district witnessed maximum communal flashpoints, which led to Hindu polarisation and the emergence of the Bajrang Dal and the Hindu right wing.

mimi-nusrat-inside_032019071358.jpgBoth entries have surprised voters. (Photo: Twitter)

Mamata replaced him with an apparently timid Idris Ali in 2014, but it seemed the TMC would continue to pamper the 22 per cent Muslim voters of Basirhat and reportedly infiltrators from across the border.

The 71 per cent Hindus in the area started seeing things in a different light as the infiltration kept mounting and the area saw frequent communal tension.

Mamata was aware of the feelings of Basirhat Hindus. So she was looking for a non-political, fresh face. Nusrat fits the bill.

She is likely to cast her spell on Muslim and Hindu voters alike and the youth could be easily swept off their feet with Nusrat doing a few road shows.

“With the Muslim vote bank already with the Trinamool, if Nusrat can make some dent in the Hindu vote bank, she’ll surely win, which wouldn’t have been possible with any political Muslim candidate,” said a TMC political pundit.

However, the BJP is not going to make it easy for Nusrat.

In Jadavpur, Mamata has also brought in a change by dropping sitting MP Sugata Bose, a Harvard professor who became unpopular after some of his critical statements about the politicisation of educational institutions, in favour of actress Mimi Chakrabarty, another political greenhorn with a substantial fan following.

Mimi’s entry had surprised many and shocked party members since the Jadavpur Assembly seat was under CPM stalwart Sujan Chakrabarty and he is a popular face in his constituency.

A hardcore politician from a politically high-profile seat would have given a thrill of a different magnitude. But diluting the seriousness of the fight and distracting attention from the political significance of the seat with a popular household soap opera name might work wonders.

The BJP has also apparently talked to two popular Bengali film stars and a fashion designer to contest from the seat. The actresses have declined, but the fashion designer might just agree.

Meanwhile, film actress Moon Moon Sen, who won from Bankura Lok Sabha seat in 2014 by defeating CPM veteran Basudev Acharya, has been transferred to Asansol, where the BJP’s sitting MP is Babul Supriyo. The reason behind shifting Moon Moon was the discontentment among Bankura voters who reportedly resented her non-performance. They apparently regret getting carried away by the actress’ glamour instead of relying on their heavyweight minister, who would be with them through thick and thin.

When it became clear glamour will not cut it again in Bankura, Mamata brought in TMC veteran Subrata Mukherjee against Acharya. The contestants on this seat are likely to kick up some real political storms and clashes of ideology.

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Also Read: How Mamata Banerjee has emerged as the face of the anti-BJP brigade


Romita Datta Romita Datta

The writer is Associate Editor, India Today.

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