Union minister Babul Supriyo, one of five MPs the BJP has fielded for the Bengal assembly elections, today filed his nomination for the Tollygunge seat in Kolkata -- a high voltage event at which he played drums and drove himself and his wife and daughter to the nomination centre.
Trinamool supporters gathered at the centre heckled him and shouted go back slogans. Even Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee mocked him at her rally at Barjora in Bankura district today, saying, "Is he running away from Asansol?"
"What a shame... He (Babul Supriyo) wants to be MP and MLA and Councillor, Commissioner, Panchayat... Go to Delhi, do goondami (hooliganism), do gaddari (betrayal). The last time they took all the votes in this area. Did they do any work?" the Chief Minister said.
Babul Supriyo responded saying, "Mamata Banerjee again shows what a small mind she has to go on about outsiders. I am an Indian. In any case, where I stand from is my party's business. May be she is worried about the end of the tolabaji (extortion) at Tollygunj by her party leaders? They force film stars to campaign even when they are not willing, do tolabaji from filmmakers who want to rent equipment to shoot films. "
The sitting Tollygunge MLA is Aroop Biswas, a minister in the Mamata Banerjee government and known to be very close to her. Tollygunge is also the cinema distrit of Kolkata....better known as Tollywood ...which houses all the studios where films are shot. Aroop Biswas is a two term MLA from there and closely networked with the film industry.
Tollygunge is also the constituency Mamata Banerjee had mentioned -- in jest, her party said -- where she may contest from. She said this the day she announced her candidates list. BJP saw in the "jest" nervousness about the poll outcome at Nandigram.
A popular singer, Mr Supriyo had joined politics ahead of the 2014 assembly elections, defeating the ruling Trinamool' Congress's Dola Sen by 60,000 votes.
As the junior minister of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, he became the youngest minister in the Narendra Modi government. In 2016, his portfolio was changed to Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
In the 2019 general elections, Babul Supriyo bested popular actress Moon Moon Sen at Asansol for the second time. Moon Moon was given the Asansol ticket after serving Bankura as MP for five years earlier.
He was named the junior environment minister in the second term of the NDA government at the Centre.
Roping him into the elections, the BJP had to face taunts from the leaders of the Trinamool, who claimed the party had not enough leaders in the state to field in the election.
In Tollygunge, he is taking on Aroop Biswas, a powerful Trinamool minister known to be close to the Chief Minister.