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regular-article-logo Sunday, 21 April 2024

Nusrat Jahan ends silence on Sandeshkhali, says ‘always followed party guidelines’

It is heart wrenching waking up to such allegations. As a woman, as a public representative I have always followed my party guidelines and served people: Nusrat

Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 26.02.24, 05:02 AM
Nusrat Jahan.

Nusrat Jahan. File picture

Trinamul MP and actor Nusrat Jahan on Sunday ended her silence on Sandeshkhali, which falls within her constituency of Basirhat, amid questions from residents and her party colleagues why she had not visited the trouble-torn area.

However, the post she wrote on X to counter the criticism said she “always followed party guidelines”.

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Nusrat’s comment invited the question whether she meant the lack of party guidelines prevented her visiting her constituency.

“It is heart wrenching waking up to such allegations (of truancy). As a woman, as a public representative I have always followed my party guidelines and served people,” the post from Nusrat, 34, said.

A senior Trinamul leader said: “I never heard that any MP has to obtain permission from anyone to visit his or her constituency.”

Several pockets of Sandeshkhali have since February 7 witnessed turbulent protests, led mostly by women who accuse fugitive Trinamul leader Sheikh Shahjahan and his aides Shib Prasad Hazra and Uttam Sardar of land-grab, violence and sexual assault. Hazra and Sardar have been arrested on charges that include gang rape but Shahjahan remains at large.

Nusrat is a first-time MP who defeated the BJP’s Sayantan Basu by the huge margin of 350,369 votes in 2019.

Trinamul leaders in North 24-Parganas said Nusrat had not only failed to visit Sandeshkhali, she had even failed to contact Sandeshkhali MLA Sukumar Mahata, who has been on the ground since the turmoil began.

“She has not contacted me. I’m on the ground, working for the people. She is the MP for Basirhat and I hope she has watched on television what has been happening in Sandeshkhali. It was her duty to visit the area,” Mahata, a Trinamul leader, said.

“I did not call her as she is a celebrity and because I am busy working for the people.”

Trinamul insiders said Nusrat should have visited Sandeshkhali at least once and met the people, especially the women complaining of sexual assault and torture against a section of local party leaders.

“She has a huge fan following in Sandeshkhali. Had she gone there and listened to their grievances, it would have helped the party,” a Trinamul insider said.

Another Trinamul source said the party had long been unhappy with Nusrat’s performance as MP, with feedback from the ground suggesting people were complaining about her rare visits to the constituency since her win in 2019. “Chances of her getting the party ticket again for this year’s election are slim,” the source said.

Many have in this context highlighted how Nusrat’s close friend Mimi Chakraborty, Jadavpur MP and actor, had handed in her resignation as parliamentarian to Mamata Banerjee on February 15, citing obstacles she had encountered while serving the people.

In her post, Nusrat urged people to keep faith in the state government and lauded what Mamata had done for Sandeshkhali.

“With the Sandeshkhali incident raging, Our Hon CM has already sent Help.. and necessary steps are being taken for the welfare of the people. We are not above the law.. thus abiding by it and supporting the administration is what one needs to do,” she said.

“I have genuinely served the people in my constituency, in times of joy, in times of trouble.. I act in accordance with the guidelines of my party. and I believe we must have faith in the state govt and administration, what is wrong shall always be condemned.”

Many Sandeshkhali residents continued to castigate her for letting them down in a time of crisis.

“We voted for her and we were proud that our MP is an actor. We expected that she would meet us, at least when we faced a crisis,” said Manika Naskar, a 23-year-old homemaker.

“We launched a movement against the atrocities on women. Unfortunately, our MP, who is a woman, did not come to meet us even once.”

Nusrat’s post appeared to suggest that people should “stop politicising” the issue of her absence.

“We must refrain from targeting each other.. and come together to help create peace and not commotion. People’s security and welfare is our top priority.. Rest who says what about whom does not matter. Like I said before.. I’d repeat again ‘STOP POLITICISING’,” she wrote.

Contacted over the phone on Sunday evening for her reactions, Nusrat said her office would get in touch with this correspondent. But no communication had been received from her office till late night.

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