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Article Bengali

Several actresses took the plunge in West Bengal, but only one emerged a winner

Given the sweep of the election by the Trinamool Congress, most of the BJP's movie star candidates bit the dust, with actor Hiran Chatterjee the only one to make it to the assembly.

(From left) Raj Chakraborty, Soham Chakraborty, Rudranil Ghosh, Babul Supriyo and Srabanti Chatterjee

Roushni Sarkar

The eight-phase assembly election that ended in a resounding victory for chief minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress in  West Bengal last Sunday witnessed a host of actors and actresses in the fray.  The leader herself, however, lost narrowly, by less than 2,000 votes, in the Nandigram constituency to lieutenant-turned-arch-rival Suvendu Adhikari.

Both the ruling Trinamool Congress and the challenger, the Bharatiya Janata Party of prime minister Narendra Modi, fielded leading artistes from Bengali cinema as candidates for the legislative assembly.

Given that the former won a landslide victory with more than 200 seats in the 294-member house, it was but natural that the artistes who contested on the grass-and-flowers symbol delivered better results than those in the lotus camp. Despite the hype generated by the BJP's election machinery and social-media army, some prominent faces from the industry who contested on the party's ticket were trounced.

While veteran actor Chiranjeet Chakraborty and producer-director Raj Chakraborty won from the Barasat and Barrackpore constituencies, by margins of more than 20,000 votes and around 10,000 votes respectively as Trinamool candidates, actor Rudranil Ghosh, who had triggered a row with rapid changes in political affiliation in recent years, was defeated by Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay of the ruling party by more than 28,000 votes in the Bhabanipur constituency of Kolkata.

Ghosh had been a student leader when the Left Front was ruling the state for more than three decades. He switched to the Trinamool when the party came to power in 2011 and was a star campaigner for the party in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and 2016 assembly poll.

Saayoni Ghosh was among the few Trinamool celebrities to lose. She put up a strong fight but lost ultimately to fashion designer Agnimitra Paul of the BJP in the Asansol Dakshin constituency by more than 4,000 votes.

Actresses Sayantika Banerjee and Koushani Mukherjee, both contesting on behalf of the Trinamool Congress, also lost to their BJP opponents in Bankura and Krishnanagar Uttar constituencies by around 1,000 votes and more than 30,000 votes, respectively.

June Malia

Film and theatre actor Kanchan Mullick (Uttarpara) and actress June Malia (Medinipur) emerged victorious for the ruling party with respective margins of 35,000 votes and 24,000 votes. Actor Soham Chakraborty (Trinamool) won the Chandipur constituency in the Purba Medinipur district by more than 5,000 votes.

Actress and BJP candidate Srabanti Chatterjee lost by more than 50,000 votes to outgoing school education minister Partha Chatterjee of the Trinamool in the Behala Paschim constituency. Actresses Paayel Sarkar, Tanusree Chakraborty and Parno Mittra also tasted defeat as BJP contestants in Behala Purba, Shyampur and Baranagar constituencies, respectively. All of them lost by margins of more than 30,000 votes.

Among BJP movie star candidates, only actor Hiran Chatterjee emerged victorious in the Kharagpur Sadar constituency by a margin of more than 3,000 votes. Even well-known singer, member of Parliament and Union minister Babul Supriyo was trounced by more than 50,000 votes in Tollygunge, Kolkata, the home of the Bengali film industry. Supriyo had won the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and 2019 from the industrial city of Asansol.