Travelling to remote areas for shooting and shows is not uncommon for Bengal’s entertainers. But campaigning on foot or otherwise, without the comfort of makeup vans that have attached loos, during the pandemic is a different experience altogether.
For veteran celeb politicians, including Bratya Basu (Dum Dum), Chiranjeet Chakrabarty (Basarat), Babul Supriyo (Tollygunge) and Locket Chatterjee (Chinsurah), who are contesting the assembly polls this year, this is not a new experience. But for many first-timers, including Raj Chakrabarty (Barrackpore), June Maliah (Midnapore), Hiran Chatterjee (Kharagpur Sadar), Kanchan Mallick (Uttarpara), Payel Sarkar (Behala East), Lovely Maitra (Sonarpur South), Debdoot Ghosh (Tollygunge) and Aditi Munshi (Rajarhat Gopalpur), negotiating the heat and staying hydrated while on a campaign trail is certainly a challenge.
On Sunday, actor Yash Dasgupta, the Chanditala BJP candidate, began his digital campaign with the lines “industries will be built, agriculture will be developed and people will get protection”. He claimed that absence of vanity vans on the ground while campaigning is hardly an issue. “I come from a very middle class background. While shooting abroad, we don’t get any vanity vans and have to even change on the streets. In last November, I went to shoot for a film in north Bengal where I had no vanity van and had to change at the residence of a local. So, campaigning in the heat without the comforts of a vanity van is hardly an issue.”
What about wearing masks? Actor Koushani Mukherjee, the Trinamool candidate from Krishnagore Uttar seat, understands that campaigning with masks creates a distance when the idea is to reach out to voters. “But avoiding masks increases Covid-19 risks. The onus is on me to keep myself fit without compromising on the door-to-door campaigns. Having six meals daily at regular intervals isn’t possible now. So, I am also carrying healthy snacks,” she said.
Strengthening natural immunity levels before campaigning has been on the agenda for actor Tanushree Chakraborty, the BJP candidate from Shyampur. Her day begins with a glass of ginger and karela juice. “Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing while campaigning isn’t always possible. I’ve taken a vaccine for pneumonia.”
Actress Saayoni Ghosh, TMC candidate from Asansol South, calls the campaign a “thrilling” experience. Dressed mostly in cotton saris with her hair tied in a bun, she comes across as quite a people’s person. On March 11, she tweeted a video highlighting a ‘Dida special pudina chutney’ recipe that she had picked up during campaigning from an elderly woman. Once offered to taste it, she sweetly refused saying ‘ashbo amra, ekhon chap ache tobe shikhe gelam’ (We will visit you later, but we have understood how you have prepared the chutney). “I am not a heavy eater,” Saayoni said. “Having lots of water is a given. But the problem is that I can’t have a lot of water because I can’t always be rushing to the loo anywhere. Being a woman has its advantages and disadvantages.”
Sayantika Banerjee, TMC candidate from Bankura, has negotiated this problem well. “I am used to travelling a lot. I have lots of salt-sweet water and love coconut water. I also carry sanitizers and hygiene sprays,” Sayantika said. Meanwhile, Tanushree has a solution. “I’m sure my voters won’t refuse if I ask them to allow me to use their washrooms,” she said.
Source: Times of India