TMC and BJP repose faith in celebrities
Kolkata: Reposing faith in celebrities over seasoned politicians, the Trinamool Congress and the BJP fielded seven actors, a playback singer and two footballers in West Bengal for the Lok Sabha polls.
Celebrities in the TMC brigade made a better showing in the hustings than the saffron party, with five of them winning a ticket to the Lok Sabha, while two of the BJP's star candidates emerging victorious.
The Asansol seat was witness to one of the most eyecatching battles between actor Moon Moon Sen and Bollywood playback singer Babul Supriyo.
TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had shifted Sen to Asansol from Bankura, from where she had won in 2014, to take on Babul Supriyo.
The temperamental Sen was possibly at her best in displaying her star status on the day of election in Asansol, saying that she was not aware of clashes there since she woke up late because she was not served bed tea in time at the four-star hotel where she stayed for over a month during campaign.
"They gave me my bed tea very late so I woke up very late," she said.
Babul Supriyo, the singer-turned politician who was made a minister of state by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, also had his fair share of controversies during the campaign.
He had a run-in with the Election Commission over a controversial song for the campaign that he had composed and sung and was involved in a number of stand-offs with the TMC workers and police.
The singer got the better of the 65-year old actor, who is known for her sensuous acting in both Bollywood and Bengali films, trouncing her by nearly two lakh votes.
A disappointed Sen left Asansol in a huff midway through the counting process on May 23, saying "you will not get me anymore."
Mamata Banerjee, who seems to have a penchant for the film world, fielded four other cine stars in the fray, with two being greenhorns. All of them had better luck in the hustings.
The two new entrants emerged victorious with huge margins, while the two other sitting MPs also retained their seats by comfortable margins.
While Nusrat Jahan Ruhi trounced Sayantan Basu of BJP by 3,50,369 votes in Basirhat, Mimi Chakraborty's winning margin in Jadavpur stood at 2,95,239 votes.
While Nusrat ensured that she did not court any unnecessary controversy during the gruelling campaign over two months, Mimi was not that lucky with trolls in the social media her wearing gloves while shaking hands with people.
Sitting TMC MPs and Bengali film stars Dev and Satabdi Roy won by comfortable margins in Ghatal and Birbhum.
For Roy, it is her third term, while Dev triumphed for the second time.
While Dev has always taken care that whatever he says is politically correct, Roy has learned from past slip-ups to remain non-controversial.
Not to be left behind, the regimented saffron party fielded actor Locket Chatterjee, who has concentrated in politics more than her film and teleserial career for some years now, from Hooghly.
She got the better of sitting MP Dr Ratna De Nag of TMC in the Hooghly constituency, within which Singur is situated.
Singur was one of the launch pads for Mamata Banerjee's anti-land acquisition campaign that saw the flight of Tata Motors' Nano car plant to Gujarat from Bengal.
Another actor aspirant of BJP, Joy Banerjee, however, lost to TMC in Uluberia.
Two former football stars were also in the fray, with one retaining his seat while the other lost.
TMC's Prasun Banerjee, a former India soccer team captain and the first national level footballer to get elected to the Lok Sabha, made it to the Lok Sabha for the third consecutive term from Howrah.
Fate was not as kind to Kalyan Choubey, a former India goalkeeper who took to the political arena as a BJP candidate from Krishnanagar seat. He suffered a loss to the TMC's Mahua Moitra.