Millennium Post

‘Imran Khan would think I have gone mad to contest elections’

Why this sudden foray into politics? And why Trinamool Congress?
I really don’t know how this happened so suddenly. I took the decision overnight. I know it is kind of clichéd to say I have gotten so much from society and now I should give back. But truth is I was sitting at home doing nothing. I am not used to that. So when the offer came to stand for elections, I readily agreed. I want to do some serious work. I might fail, but I want to give it a shot.

And I joined Trinamool Congress because I believe in that lady. Mamata Banerjee has thrown CPI(M) out of West Bengal. Who would have believed that was possible! She fought long and hard and came on top. Even now she is fighting to get West Bengal back in shape. I want to stand beside her and share her work. You know, my friends from other countries say so much has changed in Bengal for the better when they visit me now. The credit goes to Mamata Banerjee.

Mamata Banerjee is loved in Bengal, loathed outside. Would you want to give her some tips on image management?
Who am I to lecture Mamata Banerjee on anything! She is a savvy politician and knows how to handle the press. And please don’t feel bad, but the press in Delhi speaks ill of most people! Even Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi are not spared by your press. Am sure Mamata Banerjee will know how to deal with you guys eventually.

How clued in are you to Bengal’s politics? How much do you know Bankura?

I am aware of all that’s happening around me. Kolkata and its politics are not new to me. I have to admit I need to know my constituency Bankura more intimately. I have not started campaigning yet. I want to take it one step at a time and file my nomination paper first. There is a lot that needs to change about Bankura. I am not promising malls and highways immediately. That would be giving false hopes to people. But I want to spend time there, see for myself what the problems are and look at solutions.

Subrata Mukerjee (State Panchayat minister) and you did a telly serial together. There was a swimming pool scene that created quite a flutter back then in Bengal. Did he take acting lessons from you then? And is he going to return the favour now by guiding you in politics?
Oh, yes! I remember the serial. I have forgotten the name though. I gave no lessons to Subrata. He knows how to act! And of course he is going to give me tips on politics! He is such a good politician.  

And what about Imran Khan? Did you talk to him about your decision? (Back in the day the Pak cricketer-turned-politician and Sen were rumoured to be rather close)

I have not spoken to Imran for so long! I think he would just think I have gone mad to join politics!

Your comment on the need for new gamchas has become a big hit on social media. Did you know it would get so much attention?
But what have I said? All those who sit inside air-conditioned offices and write about other people have no idea how hot and humid it gets this time of the year in Bankura. A gamcha comes in handy at such times. You wet it and put it on your face and neck during an outdoor campaign and you get instant relief!   

Why is there a mad clamour this time to get film stars into politics?

Why is this question never asked to Jayalalithaa (Tamil Nadu chief minister). Wasn’t she a brilliant actress? Isn’t she a great politician now? Why can’t we join politics if we are serious about it?

How did your family react to this decision?
They are very happy for me. Riya and Raima have their own lives now and often tell me to not sit at home idle and do something. Even my husband is very supportive of my decision.

Politics can be a nasty game. Old scandals are dug up, new ones invented. Are you ready for it?
I have been blessed with good press all my life. The media loves me. But I can’t handle negativity. And I take very badly to adverse comments. This is a real worry!
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