Kolkata: As the six-phase Assembly poll begins in West Bengal on Monday, political greenhorns from various fields, including cinema, cricket, football, investment banking enter into fray.
The candidates’ list of various parties includes film stars, soccer and cricket players, a retired army colonel, and a former investment banker.
Retired Colonel Diptanshu Chaudhary, who had fought in the Kargil War, is now seeking votes on a BJP ticket from the coal belt of Asansol south constituency to fight against the “misrule” of the ruling Trinamool Congress.
During his campaigns he seeks to invoke a spirit of nationalism by proudly recalling the war tales of Kargil. His rival is Trinamool Congress’ sitting lawmaker Tapas Banerjee.
Trinamool Congress, on the other hand, is banking on former investment banker Mahua Moitra, who left her lucrative job as vice-president of JP Morgan in London to join politics, and is contesting Karimpur seat in Nadia district.
Having made the transition from a corporate boardroom to the election war-room of a political party, she is trying hard this time to shed the tag of a political greenhorn.
The list of candidates of all political parties show there are at least three soccer stars who are in the fray.
Football icon Bhaichung Bhutia is no stranger to politics.
He had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on a Trinamool Congress ticket.
This time the former Indian football captain is ready for another battle in Siliguri where he will be taking on veteran Marxist leader Ashok Bhattacharya, also the mayor of Siliguri Municipal Corporation.
Fresh in the world of politics are two soccer stars Syed Rahim Nabi and Dipendu Biswas, both of them representing Trinamool Congress.
Mr Biswas, who had played both for Mohun Bagan and East Bengal football clubs, has now been fielded from south Basirhat seat against sitting BJP lawmaker Shamik Bhattacharya.
Indian midfielder Syed Rahim Nabi, who has been the skipper of Indian Super League side Mumbai City Football Club, will be trying his luck from Pandua seat.
Late cricket administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya’s daughter Vaishali Dalmiya has also entered politics as a Trinamool Congress candidate from Bally in Howrah district.
Former Team India skipper Sourav Ganguly is expected to be the star campaigner for her.
Film stars in the fray on Trinamool ticket include actor Soham Chakraborty from Barjora seat in Bankura and sitting MLA and actress Deboshree Roy from Raidighi.
Singer Indranil Sen will be contesting from Chandernagore while Soumitra Ray, singer of popular Bengali band ‘Bhoomi’ is luring voters from Chanchal seat.
In North Howrah constituency, near Kolkata, the fight will be between actress-turned-politician Rupa Ganguly (BJP) and cricketer-turned-politician Laxmi Ratan Shukla (Trinamool Congress ).
From BJP, actress Locket Chatterjee will contest from Mayureswar, actors Joy Banerjee from Suri and Suman Banerjee from English Bazar in Malda.
Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra, who was once arrested for circulating emails mocking Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has also thrown his hat in the ring as an Independent. PTI