May 17, 2021 5:54:12 am
Though a first-time MLA and minister, 39-year-old acclaimed actor Birbaha Hansda is far from being a political greenhorn. The daughter of veteran politicians Naren and Chunibala Hansda, Birbaha won an election this time in her fourth attempt and credits Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for giving her an opportunity.
While her late father was the founder of Jharkhand Party (Naren), her mother is a former MLA. Birbaha first contested an election in 2013 as her father’s party fielded her in the municipal elections. Three years later she contested the Assembly elections from Binpur, a seat Naren Hansda had held, and in 2019 she was the candidate from the Jhargram Lok Sabha constituency. But, she was unsuccessful every time and was sent back empty-handed by the electorate.
How did her fortunes turn? “We did not have a strong organisational power to win elections,” Birbaha says. “This time, when Mamata Banerjee proposed that I contest on a TMC ticket, I saw that the ruling party was the only one that could stop the BJP. My fight is quite similar to Mamata Banerjee’s. So, I decided to join the TMC. I also appealed to all parties, including Jharkhand Party (Naren), to support me. I am grateful that at last people gave me an opportunity to work for them.”
Asked about her immediate goals, the Minister of State (MoS) for Forest and Jhargram MLA says. “I am grateful to Mamata Banerjee for her immense confidence in me. I have a lot to do as a minister. First of all, here in Jangalmahal, many people die in elephant attacks. I have to take proper action to minimise such attacks and provide proper compensation to the kin of the deceased. I have to also stop deforestation in the Jhargram area. Every year, Jhargram keeps losing its green cover. We have to stop that.”
Birbaha made her name in the Santhali film industry and has acted in 19 Santhali films, including Bardu, the biggest hit produced in the industry.
Talking about her plans for her industry, Birbaha says, “Santhali films have nice themes and stories but are backward in terms of technology, processing and film-making. I decided that I will also take help from other film personalities who are MLAs in our party and will try to develop the Santhali film in the future.”
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