Trinamool Congress chief spokesperson Derek O’Brien has put the hair on his head at stake in the ongoing assembly elections.
Unwilling to take a possible loss in his stride, the quiz master-turned-Rajya Sabha MP announced in an interview with the Indian Express that he will shave his head if CPI(M) opposition leader Surjya Kanta Mishra wins the Narayangarh seat in Burdwan district.
“Who is the leader of this patchwork (the Left-Congress electoral understanding) because the man they are projecting, Surjya Kanta Mishra — I will shave my head if he wins his own seat of Narayangarh,” O’Brien was quoted as saying in the interview, published on April 20.
Mishra, a politburo member and the CPI(M) state secretary, is one of the strongest members of his party.
O’Brien’s announcement has come as a reminder of a similar vow made by BJP leader Sushma Swaraj before the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, in which the Congress emerged as the single-largest party. Swaraj had threatened to shave her head if a person of “foreign origin” became the Indian premier.
“If Sonia becomes the Prime Minister, I will shave my head and start a mass movement,” Swaraj, a Lok Sabha MP, had said then.
Swaraj was spared a trip to the hair saloon when Gandhi refused to take up the post – bequeathing it to Manmohan Singh instead.
While Swaraj’s vow was appreciated by many, including BJP leader Uma Bharti, O’Brien’s announcement has not found much resonance among Trinamool members. The leader, who is known for his curls, is facing criticism over a recent press conference in which he displayed a doctored photo of BJP Union minister Rajnath Singh offering a laddoo to CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat.