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Old-timer challenges notions about CPM in Barrackpore

It is two decades since Subhashini has been fielded as an MP candidate. In 1991, she won in Kanpur.

She has been fielded by a party whose women candidates are outnumbered by their male counterparts. She is contesting in a state where her rivals see her as an outsider. Subhashini Ali has taken up both challenges.

The CPM’s Barrackpore candidate, Subhashini, is one of the six women among the Left Front’s 42 nominees for West Bengal and refuses to accept that women are underrepresented in her party.
A resident of Kanpur and mother of eminent film-maker Shaad Ali, Subhashini has interest in art, culture and theatre and had been an actress herself. She was earlier married to film-maker Muzaffar Ali.

The CPM nominee also dismisses the very idea of boundaries.

“In a country like India, there should not be any provincial boundary. Barrackpore, which is the cradle of the great Sepoy Mutiny, does not only belong to the residents of Bengal but it equally belongs to me. I have been visiting the state frequently and this place is not new to me. Moreover, Bengal has sent many great personalities to the Parliament,” she said.

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Subhashini is the daughter of captain Lakshmi Sehgal and Colonel Prem Sehgal. Both her parents were closely associated with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army.

Subhashini, a CPM central committee leader, has been fielded against TMC candidate Dinesh Trivedi, the former railway minister.

She reached Kolkata from Kanpur on the international women’s day and started campaigning immediately with the main focus on the increasing rate of crimes against women in the state.

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“The issue I want to raise is the rising number of crimes against women in the state that has a woman chief minister. Instead of facing the problem, the political leaders of the ruling party have a tendency to say that the allegation of a victim is fabricated. At times it has even been said the victim has invited the crime against her. This cannot be tolerated,” she said.

Talking about women in her party, she said, “They are placed in important positions. And as far as the number of women candidates is concerned, people have to see that the nominees are of Left Front, not of CPM. The party had to accommodate the allies too.”

It is two decades since Subhashini has been fielded as an MP candidate. In 1991, she won in Kanpur.
When asked about the performance of the third front in 2009, she said, “We are starting afresh and we should not look back. The BJP has polarised the people. And the Congress has failed to serve.”

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Her political rivals say that she has been brought to the state because there is conflict over the selection of candidates in the party. She said, “There has been no controversy over my candidature. The district committee cleared my name.”

First published on: 18-03-2014 at 00:07 IST
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