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2-min read

Why Mamata Banerjee Chose ‘Giant Killer’ Moon Moon Sen to Contest Against Babul Supriyo

Sending Sen to contest in Asansol could also potentially serve the purpose of neutralising the existing factions within TMC in the area.

Aniruddha Ghosal | News18.com@aniruddhg1

Updated:March 13, 2019, 12:00 PM IST
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Why Mamata Banerjee Chose ‘Giant Killer’ Moon Moon Sen to Contest Against Babul Supriyo
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New Delhi: That Moon Moon Sen, veteran actress and TMC's MP from Bankura, will be challenging union minister and the sitting MP from Asansol, Babul Supriyo, isn't just because of her glamour quotient. The reasons for her surprise candidature, party leaders explained, could be found in Bankura district and the TMC’s internal feuds.

Asansol, the industrial belt in West Bengal close to Jharkhand, saw Supriyo win in 2014 when he became one of the BJP’s two MPs from West Bengal in 2014 after he defeated Trinamool labour leader Dola Sen and CPI-M MP Bansa Gopal Chowdhury.

Sen, the daughter of Bengali screen legend Suchitra Sen, will in all likelihood challenge Supriyo, who has been in the area for the past fortnight. 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 the 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 the TMC’s popularity has waned. The BJP, meanwhile, has been making steady inroads,” said a TMC district leader from Bankura.

In 2016, the BJP finished third in four of the seven assembly segments that constituted the Lok Sabha seat – something which 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 in Bankura. But a BJP state committee leader 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.”

More than one leader from the area, sources said, informed Banerjee that if Moon Moon Sen contested from the area, they wouldn’t win. Instead, the local leadership requested the candidature of Subrata Mukherjee.

Mukherjee is a veteran politician who had served as the Home Minister in former Congress leader and Bengal CM Siddhartha Shankar Ray’s government. He is also the Cabinet Minister of Panchayats and Rural Development in the Bengal government.

“Mamata Banerjee also wanted a leader of his stature representing the party in Delhi,” added a TMC source.

Sending Sen to contest in Asansol could also potentially serve the purpose of neutralising the existing factions within TMC in the area. The source added, “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, “The factions will not have to work together to ensure the candidate wins.”

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| Edited by: Sana Fazili
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