Actor Moon Moon Sen who contested from Asansol, West Bengal as a Trinamool Congress candidate, lost by 1.97 lakh votes. She was pitted against sitting BJP MP of Asansol and singer Babul Supriyo who got 6,32,727 votes.
In 2014, Sen debuted in the Lok Sabha as a Trinamool Congress seat after winning from Bankura in West Bengal. Sen’s was a surprise win in 2014 as she was up against 9-time CPI(M) MP Basudeb Acharya.
Asansol witnessed violent communal clashes in 2018 that took the lives of at least four people in the constituency. The district which shares a border with Bihar has a sizable Hindi speaking population — several of them migrant workers or employed with the coal plants — and had emerged as a BJP stronghold in 2014.
Sen rode the Mamata Banerjee wave that consistently won Trinamool Congress elections since it came to power in West Bengal in 2011. With her, several other actors like Dev and Satabdi Roy won with whopping leads in 2014. However, like her fellow candidates from political parties Sen had never been politically vocal or active.
Sen was recently in news for having a curious exchange with a TV reporter who asked her about violence in her constituency and allegations that voters were not being allowed in booths. Sen said she had no news of violence as she had woken up late and was served her bed tea after her usual time. She did add that political violence was nothing new in the state and parties in the past were all guilty of it, but that part of her response drowned in the mockery that her ‘bed tea’ comment attracted.
According to a report on News18 local leaders and grassroots workers in the constituency she won from were unhappy with her as she was barely present in the constituency. They also alleged that the BJP had begun to make an impression on the voters there.
Asansol, a TMC leader conceded is a difficult seat for the party, especially this time. Not only did the BJP win last time, communal clashes have helped the party to polarise it further, BJP workers said.
Babul Supriyo, her adversary, on the other had had been very politically active, especially on social media often making controversial statements against the Opposition. This time, he alleged that Sen had nothing to offer and instead begged for votes naming her famous mother, late actress Suchitra Sen. In consequent interviews to Bengali newspapers, Sen retorted saying her mother was a person well-loved by people of Bengal and there was nothing wrong in mentioning her in her political speeches.
Asansol witnessed a spate of political violence before and during the polls with Supriyo’s car getting vandalised. The MP also has a case of harassment pending against him, filed by Trinamool MLA Mahua Moitra who accused Supriyo of making insulting comments on her during a television debate.