Very often a solitary moment of realisation, an epiphany can change the course of life. Similarly in politics, often parties tired with rhetoric hope for a brief spark of inspiration to change its future. Mamata Banerjee had her eureka moment when she took on the Left over Singur land deal. In the land of Shyamaprasad Mukherjee BJP has never really made a mark till now. But finally it looks like in Bengal the party is in the cusp of an electoral breakthrough thanks to an unlikely leader.
Babul, the unpredictable star
Supriyo Baral alias Babul Supriyo has been always been a bit of an enigma. Junking a decent job he went to Mumbai and became famous with hit songs in Kaho Naa Pyar Hain. Over the years Babul experienced his shares of ups and downs. He could never reach the zenith of popularity he achieved with Kaho Naa Pyar Hain. In a deeply competitive world where flavour of one season gets booted out in the next, Babul managed to stay in the periphery.
In the meantime he also tried his hand in acting at Bengali movies. But now it seems like Babul has finally got his true calling. When Babul’s candidature was announced from Asansol, very few gave him a chance. It was like another celebrity going to the deep end of the ocean not knowing the consequences. But just in a month, Babul has completely changed the scenario. In a seat where BJP got less than 50 thousand votes last time, he has carved a niche for himself. So much so, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already done 5 public meetings here where she vociferously appealed to the people not to vote for BJP.
Singer’s success formula
Babul’s success mantra has been emphatically simple. He has used the Modi wave to hilt packaging it with his celebrity status. But unlike other stars who only believe in sporadic road shows Babul has decided to personally reach the people. What BJP lacks in terms of organisation in the state, Babul has tried to compensate by doing the hard yards. The demography of Asansol has also helped him. The constituency adjacent to Jharkhand has large number of migrant workers from Hindi heartland who appears to be completely “Modi”fied. Babul’s campaign has undoubtedly charged the cadres and sent shivers through opponent camps. In a way he has become a rallying point of the BJP campaign in a state where it has always felt the dearth of mass leaders. Other candidates are now adopting his model.
Slander campaign unleashed
According to political pundits increasingly opponents are trying to vilify the singer to derail his campaign. First there was the allegation of drunk campaigning. That complaint turned out to be completely false. Now Babul has been charged under Arms Act. It is being alleged that one of the members of Babul’s entourage was illegally carrying arms. Babul has been subjected to intense police interrogation with over 70 questions in 2 hours. The singer believes that Bengal is in a state of emergency where the authorities are completely hands in gloves with the ruling party.
Facing off against Babul in Asansol is didi’s trusted lieutenant Dola Sen. She has a reputation of being combative (to put it very mildly) even within her party. Thus it is feared that turf war between BJP and TMC is likely to increase in the upcoming days.
Many believe TMC is currently ruling the roosts in the state due to lack of credible opposition. Can BJP fill up that vacuum? Rajnath Singh believes his party can get power in Bengal next election. That looks like a bit exaggerated claim but can the party emerge as a viable alternative at least? A lot of answers will be drawn from Babul’s fate come 16th May.