New Delhi: A serious battle, with all the tension of a Bollywood thriller and equally important stakes, will take place in Asansol with the entry of Union minister Babul Supriyo.
TMC MP Moon Moon Sen is set to take on the singer-turned-politician, whose name was announced in BJP’s first list of candidates on Thursday.
Supriyo, the Indian playback singer, with credits in Hindi and Bengali cinema, has been campaigning in the seat for almost a month and sources in the BJP maintained that his, was one of the seats in the state, which was “almost certain”.
Sen, on the other hand, has credits in Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi and Kannada films. She joined the TMC in 2014 and is the daughter of legendary Bengali actress Suchitra Sen and Dibanath Sen, the great grandson of the Diwan of Tripura.
The TMC MP finished her graduation from Somerville College in Oxford and did her Masters from Jadavpur University.
After making her cinematic debut in 1984, Sen began a second career in politics thirty years later. In 2014, she defeated CPI(M)’s nine-time MP Basudeb Acharia from Bankura.
Supriyo, similarly joined politics in 2014 and ended the 25-year-old dominion of the Left in the seat. Traditionally, a part of the coal mining belt of Bengal, the demography of the seat that borders Jharkhand has changed over the years.
Meanwhile, the fact that Moon Moon Sen will be challenging Union minister Babul Supriyo, the sitting MP from Asansol, isn't just because of her glam quotient.
The reasons for her surprise candidature, party leaders explained could be found in Bankura and the TMC’s internal feuds.
She was dubbed a giant killer after she defeated nine-time CPI(M) MP Basudeb Acharia in Bankura in 2014. But things haven’t gone so well since then for her in the seat, admitted TMC leaders.
“She is very unpopular. The local TMC leaders in the area have long been complaining that she is hardly ever present in the seat and TMC’s popularity has waned. The BJP, meanwhile, has been making steady inroads,” said a TMC district leader from Bankura.
In 2016, BJP finished third in four of the seven Assembly segments that constituted the Lok Sabha seat — something that sent alarm bells ringing within the TMC.
In the Panchayat polls, while the BJP performed well in most tribal-dominated districts, this wasn’t the case with Bankura. But a state committee leader of the saffron party claimed, “The party was only able to field candidates in about 26.5% of the seats. The reason is that the TMC was scared to expose their weakness here.”
Sending Sen to contest in Asansol could also potentially serve the purpose of neutralising the existing factions within TMC in the area.
“There are at least four different factions in Asansol and they have all been contesting within themselves for supremacy. By sending an outsider, that too someone who is as much a celebrity as Babul Supriyo can neutralise this,” the source added.