Celebrity candidates raise glam quotient for Trinamool

March 12th, 2009 - 12:39 pm ICT by IANS  

By Soudhriti Bhabani
Kolkata, March 12 (IANS) For almost two decades he has been a cultural crusader who led the revival of modern Bengali songs with path-breaking lyrics. Kabir Suman, a popular name among music lovers in West Bengal, is now ready to appear in a new avatar: as a Trinamool Congress candidate for the Lok Sabha elections.

After working as a journalist for years, practising Indian classical music and western folk quite successfully, Suman has now decided to take the plunge into politics.

He will contest most probably from the Jadavpore constituency on the outskirts of the city against Sujan Chakraborty of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the state’s main ruling party for 32 years.

Similarly, popular Bengali film star Shatabdi Roy and actor Tapas Pal, who for years shared an on-screen space as a romantic couple in Bengali films, are tipped to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections as Trinamool candidates.

The glam quotient in the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress seems to have boosted the spirit of the party workers before the April-May election.

“It’s good that now people from the creative field are gradually getting inclined to the opposition politics in West Bengal,” senior Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said.

“Earlier, they were with the Leftists and took active part in various Left movements in the state. This glam factory, or to put it in another way, celebrities’ participation in the Trinamool will give an extra mileage to the party in the coming election,” Bandopadhyay told IANS.

He said: “Many other big names from the state’s intellectual fraternity are in talks with us. They are interested in the ideology of the Trinamool Congress. It will take some time for them to come and join our political movement.”

The celebrities in the fray are optimistic about their electoral prospects. For them, it was more like a social responsibility than a political mission.

“I personally believe I am not a political man, as far as mainstream politics is concerned. But yes, I am into it just to bring a change in the system. If anything has to be changed it has to be through parliamentary democracy,” Kabir Suman told IANS.

“We cannot simply sit idle and pass comments on what our leaders should do. We have to step into politics,” said Suman, who converted to Islam to marry Bangladeshi singer Sabina Yasmin.

“I participated in a lot of socio-political movements in the state and played active role through my music. For me, the Trinamool Congress is not merely a political party, it is a movement. And I want to be a vehicle for the voices of the oppressed in West Bengal,” Suman said, adding that he would devote the rest of his life for causes of the common people.

Tapas Pal, a sitting Trinamool Congress legislator from Kolkata’s Alipur constituency, is also likely to contest the Lok Sabha polls.

“I think there is a great similarity between a politician and an actor. Both of them have to connect with the audience and they have reach out to the masses. For actors, it’s through some medium and for leaders it’s through their political performance,” Pal said.

Shatabdi Roy said: “I always wanted to do something for Mamata Banerjee and her party. I am now happy that I’ve got a chance to do something good for the common people,” she said.

The CPI-M, however, scoffed at the Trinamool’s celebrity candidates, saying it reflected the party’s political bankruptcy and lack of confidence.

“If the Trinamool chief were confident, would she have fielded these glamorous faces?” asked CPI-M central committee member Benoy Konar.

“She (Mamata) is politically bankrupt. Ideologically, her party is hollow. It will not affect the Left votebank in the polls,” Konar told IANS.

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