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 in which he played drums and drove himself and his wife and daughter to the nomination centre.
Trinamool supporters gathered at the centre heckled him, shouting “Go back” slogans. Even Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee mocked him at her rally 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.
Asansol has been one of the places where the old hands in the BJP had clashed with the party’s imports from Trinamool. The old-timers had alleged that the party had been giving more importance to the newcomers.
Babul Supriyo — a two-time BJP MP from Asansol — who has been at one of the closed-door meets, later admitted there were differences but played it down, saying it was normal in “any family”.
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. 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 leaders, 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.