Mamata ‘prepares’ stars for new role as candidates

Candidates warned about BJP’s ‘tricks’

  • Published 14.03.19, 1:47 AM
  • Updated 14.03.19, 1:47 AM
  • 2 mins read
Mamata Banerjee with Trinamul Congress candidates in Calcutta on Wednesday. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday sought to prepare Tollywood heroines Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty for new roles as Trinamul Congress candidates by showing them examples of actors who had won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on the party tickets.

“People may ask you different questions. You give them the examples of Dev, Satabdi and Moon Moon and say, je randhe, se chul-o bandhe (the one who cooks also ties her hair). They managed their professional responsibilities and also performed as parliamentarians. You can also do that,” a Trinamul source quoted Mamata as telling Nusrat and Mimi at a closed-door session with the party’s Lok Sabha candidates on Wednesday afternoon.

Nusrat has been fielded in Basirhat and Mimi in Jadavpur.

Dev, Satabdi and Moon Moon are in the fray this time, too.

The chief minister met the Trinamul Lok Sabha candidates from Bengal and five other states to prepare them for the battle at hand. After the session, the Trinamul chief held a news conference flanked by all the candidates, who were sitting around her in three tiers.

Nusrat and Mimi were in the last row and were seen talking to each other, checking their cellphones and cuddling the one-and-a-half-year-old baby of Rupali Biswas, the wife of slain Trinamul MLA from Krishnaganj. Rupali has been fielded in Ranaghat.

“During the closed-door meeting, Didi took special care to make the three young women (Nusrat, Mimi and Rupali) feel comfortable,” said the source.

As several Trinamul candidates in Bengal were new in the electoral battle, Mamata explained the challenges ahead after asking them to highlight the achievements of the Bengal government and focus on alleged misdeeds of the Narendra Modi regime.

“She also told the candidates to learn the model code of conduct by heart and consult lawyers and chartered accountants in case of any problem or matters related to expenditures incurred during the campaign,” said the source.

Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty after Mamata’s meeting with Trinamul candidates in Calcutta
Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty after Mamata’s meeting with Trinamul candidates in Calcutta Picture by Pradip Sanyal

Asked by the press about her message to the first-timers in the fray, Mamata said: “They are very young and new. But all of them will win. I have told them to work for the people, remember farmers and workers and uphold the Constitution.”

Sources in the party said the chief minister was far more specific in the closed-door session, where she told the candidates to be careful about the possible “shenanigans of the BJP” during the campaign and steer clear of controversies. “Didi specifically told the candidates to be careful about interactions with the media and not to fall into any trap,” said a source.

Although the chief minister did not explain what traps could await the candidates, some present at the meeting thought she was obliquely referring to the Narada sting in which some people resembling senior Trinamul leaders were seen accepting money from journalists posing as businessmen.

The sting, filmed before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, was aired in the run up to the 2016 Assembly polls and caused major embarrassment for the ruling party.

According to the source, Mamata also told the new candidates to focus on campaign and not to make comments on the party’s policies or controversies.

“If you are asked for reaction to negative comments made against you by some opposition party leader, you better avoid such questions,” said the source.

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