It was a scene straight out of a Tollwood flick. Heartthrob of millions Chiranjeet alias Dipak Chakraborty stepped out of his sedan in Nabapally(Barasat), 50 km north east of Kolkata, waving to the thousands who had gathered to cheer the new Trinamool Congress candidate. Handpicked by Mamata Banerjee, this seat, the six feet tall, still glamorous star of the Bengali box office(he's acted in over 200 films) began by telling the people how one day he got a call from God (Mamata in this case) and couldn't says "no" to politics.
Barasat in North 24 Parganas district has seen a Left Front win in the 2006 Assembly polls. But Chiranjeet seemed ready for taking on the Opposition candidate Sanjib Chatterjee of the Forward Bloc this time.
"I could have painted or written poetry after years of acting. But I wanted to give back something to society. Having played a poor man in films--- a rickshawpuller, a servant, an illegitimate son, I'm ready to be a representative of the people", the 51year old actor told his audience.
The TMC MP from Barasat, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar made the populist announcements. "A Rs 350 crore drainage project should cure the stagnating water and deadly diseases like Chickengunia and malaria in these wards. A hospital in ward no 13 and an underpass which links up the two zones of Barasat are also on cards", she announced.
Chiranjeet made humble promises too. "One needs to plough the soil, get drinking water, have decent roads, even have factories. The Left Front has managed to close down thousands of factories. They gave land to the farmers but snatched it away", he said, referring to the abandoned Nano plant at Singur. The crowds roared again.
Said Mitali Mitra, a young housewife from Barasat, "Of course I'm a fan of his and I'll vote for him. This time, we will not make any mistake", she beamed.