If Narendra Modi boasted of his 56-inch ‘chhati’ (chest) to drive home his strength of purpose before the landmark 2014 Lok Sabha election, here is the Trinamool’s riposte.
With 20-inch biceps and a 58-inch chest resting on a 6-foot1-inch frame, Tushar Sil is easily the biggest muscleman in this poll season and he is seeking votes as the Trinamool candidate from Amta in Howrah district. (For the record, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biceps measure more than 22 inches.)
Apart from chanting the Mamata Banerjee government’s development mantra, Tushar is promising to build gymnasiums and a yoga hospital in the constituency once he gets elected.
Tushar was voted Mr India (the most muscular man in the country) five times in the 1980s. He was once runners-up in the Mr Asia contest too. At 63, he lives in Kolkata after retiring from a defence ministry job.
“His biceps measured nearly 24 inches when he became runners-up in Mr Asia. Wherever he is going, voters are watching his physique with awe. We hope it builds awareness among young body-builders,” said Sukanta Pal, the Trinamool Youth wing president of Howrah district.
“Besides continuing the development started by our chief minister, my dream is to build a string of gymnasiums and a yoga hospital that will also conduct courses in yoga,” Tushar told HT. However, Tushar is not the first body-builder to enter Bengal’s political arena. Manohar Aich, who won the Mr Universe title in 1952, was a BJP candidate in the 1991 Lok Sabha election. Tushar’s main rival is Asit Mitra of the Congress and he presents a study in contrast.
Frail but sturdy, Asit has a chest measuring less than 40 inches but that is no deterrent for him. “My capital is my mental strength. Physical strength is no match for that,” he said.