Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Tuesday put up a strong defence against criticism that she stressed on glamour and star power while deciding the party’s list of Lok Sabha candidates, saying she wanted them to have a say in national politics.
TMC’s list of candidates, which contained names of several film and cultural personalities, was criticised by Left parties and Congress, who alleged that the party banked on stars at the expense of grass-roots leaders to see it through the general elections.
Mamata countered this by saying that they had been nominated because she wanted them “to have a say in national politics”. “The new faces have been inducted to give a truly representative look to the list of candidates”.
She was talking to reporters at the NSCB Airport before leaving for Delhi where she would address a joint rally Wednesday with anti-graft activist Anna Hazare at Ram Lila Ground to kickstart the campaign for TMC candidates.
Putting her full faith on Dev, the matinee idol of Bengali cinema who has been fielded from Ghatal in West Midnapore district, she said, “Dev will win. The youths should be given opportunity in politics. No one becomes politician overnight.”
The Ghatal seat was last won by CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta, she said. “I want more and more young people to come into politics. If the younger generation is not encouraged, then who will manage the affairs (in the country) in the future?” she asked as Dev stood besides her.
Besides Dev, actress Moonmoon Sen, daughter of late Suchitra Sen, would contest from Bankura. Yesteryear actress Sandhya Roy will contest from Midnapore. The TMC list also has Soumitra Roy, a lead singer of popular Bengali band ‘Bhoomi’, theatre personality Arpita Ghosh and singer Indranil Sen.
Pointing out that the TMC list was an exercise to give representation to people from all walks of life, Mamata said that the film and cultural personalities could pursue their respective professions while at the same time serving people as “future representatives” in Parliament.
Mamata emphasised a difference between her party’s list and those of others, explaining that while “other parties do not field them (the celebrities) in seats where they have winning possibilities, we put them in winnable seats and get them elected”.
She said that this “fight is also against injustices done against West Bengal”. She was referring to the Centre’s non-acceptance of the state’s demand for restructuring the loans left behind by the previous Left Front government.