THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 3 JUNE, 2019
Nusrat Jahan, The Glamorous New MP in Lok Sabha
TC Series: Meet Your First Term MP
Glamorous, excited about being not just fielded but actually being elected to the Lok Sabha from Basirhat, actor and model Nusrat Jahan is already hitting the headlines. At least on the social media where her first visit to Parliament House along with fellow actor Mimi Chakraborty has generated a twitter storm. She is just 29 years old and is in Parliament with almost 8 lakh votes, defeating her BJP rival by over 3.5 lakh votes.
The two Trinamool Congress first term MPs from West Bengal in tight jeans and sneakers, every bit the glamour girls, took their selfies against the Parliament backdrop and in seconds of posting these had the Twitterati ranged in a for and against battle. Western attire, disrespect to Parliament seemed to be the crux of the anti-tweets with supporters shooting back with photographs of Delhi BJP MP Gautam Gambhir’s first visit to Parliament in similar ‘western’ attire!
In the midst much of the campaign that brought Nusrat Jahan to power disappeared from view, with the focus remaining on the looks, the attire and of course the looks and the glamour. Basirhat from where she contested and won, is a complicated constituency on the borders of Bangladesh. It has a Muslim majority population and till two years ago a history of communal harmony. As Nusrat Jahan’s CPI rival who also contested and lost -- BJP was second---Pallab Sengupta says, even today there is a tree with a Kali statue that is being looked after by Muslim youth. However, riots two years ago fractured the unity, and the polarisation has deepened rapidly since. More so because it is a border constituency, and shares a long porous stretch with Bangladesh.
Jahan carried out a good campaign, supported of course by the Trinamool Congress machinery and chief minister Mamata Banerjee personally. Initially, the Muslim conservatives in the constituency lined up against the film star, recalling her movies, finding fault with her being a Shia, talking of a rape case in which someone she knew had reportedly been involved. The campaign moved between the political and the personal with the conservative Muslims not particularly happy with the TMC choice of candidate. But for the youth she was a star from the first day, with crowds following her across the constituency.
In bringing ‘outsider’ Nusrat Jahan into Basirhat, Mamata Banerjee was trying to cement relations between factions. And clearly succeeded, even more than she had thought after an aggressive campaign by the BJP that brought Prime Minister Narendra Modi all the way to Basirhat, consolidated the Muslim votes behind the young model- actor who got 7.8 lakh votes and almost 55% of the vote share defeating her closest rival, BJP senior Sayantan Basu by over 3.5 lakh votes.
So when Jahan visits Parliament, sneakers et al, she comes with the confidence of this huge victory. And a party solidly behind her. She did not allow the attack on her to drive her away from the campaign. And seems pretty unfazed by the twitter storm that her selfies with her colleague has created ---with pretty nasty comments out there in the public domain.
She has acted in several Bengali films - Shotru, Love Express, Power, Kelor Kirti, Naqab to name a few---after a modeling career. She is supposedly engaged and again in a world where Twitter is the means of communication she has posted a photograph of herself with a rock of a diamond ring with the comment, “When reality is finally better than ur dreams, the best thing to hold on to in life... is each other..!! @nikhiljain09”.
She says she will “work for the people”. Clad in a sari for a television interview Nusrat Jahan spoke of people being her passion. Well that of course, time and the five years will tell.