Wife comes to hubby's rescue
Husband and wife have the great divide of having to contend with the fact that they now belong to rival political parties in West Bengal, but have deliberately chosen to ignore it to campaign wholeheartedly as one.
Former Nationalist Trinamool Congress chief whip Sudip Bandyopadhyya currently contesting the Lok Sabha poll from the prestigious Calcutta Northwest Lok Sabha constituency as an Independent with Congress support.
His actress wife, Nayna Bandyopadhyya, despite belonging to the Trinomool, is campaigning for her husband in earnest while criticizing NTC for the "gross injustice to him in denying him a ticket."
Nayna, taking a break from shooting, is finding time to campaign for her hubby defying the party leadership that refused to renominate him from the seat which returned him to the Lok Sabha twice.
In her campaign Nayna also does not mince words to pillory the Trinomool leadership for not renominating Bandyopadhyya. Faithfully echoing her husband, she says, "gross injustice has been meted out to him by the party."
Bandyopadhyya, a one time close confidante of NTC supreme Mamata Banerjee earned her wrath when he almost managed to secure a ministerial berth in the Vajpayee government using his rapport with big guns in the BJP.
The Trinamool chief bided her time till the elections to settle scores. She refused to give Bandyopadhyya a ticket from his old constituency and instead shunted him to far off Raiganj in North Bengal where he bluntly refused to go.
Knowing fully well that she might face disciplinary action, Nayna, however, has refused to be cowed down and has even challenged the city mayor Subrata Mukherjee, contesting as the official Trinamool candidate against her husband, to take action against her.
In a bid to strike a sympathetic chord among voters of Calcutta North-West, Nayna, MLA from Bowbazar, an assembly segment under the Lok Sabha seat, repeatedly harps on the "injustice to her husband."
Bandyopadhyay also adds that the party decision not to renominate him has not gone down well with the voters in his constituency.
Putting up a brave face, he places his faith in poll arithmetic. "I have no worries, I am getting the support of Congress which has one lakh votes in this constituency.
Moreover, a large section of Trinamool workers are still with me," he says.
Knowing that Bandyopadhyay might prove to be a thorn, his rival, Mukherjee, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure his own victory.
A tour of the constituency situated in the heart of the metropolis reveals huge cutouts of Mukherjee along with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at different points.
Mukherjee has flooded the parliamentary seat with posters banners and cutouts which his opponent Bandyopadhyay describes as a "vulgar display of wealth."
But for Bandyopadhyay, it is an irony of fate, that he had to seek support of the Congress, which he once dubbed as the 'B' team of ruling Left Front major, the CPI (M).