San­thali Ac­tress to Fight Ben­gal Polls

Award win­ning ac­tress Bir­baha Hansda fielded from Bin­pur as a Jhark­hand Party (Naren) can­di­date

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Mad­hu­parna.Das @times­group.com

Kolkata: In the star-stud­ded Ben­gal polls, Bin­pur -- a for­mer Maoist den — has a film­star can­di­date. But she isn’t a star from Bol­ly­wood, nor is she a Tol­ly­wood celebrity, not even some­one from Bho­jpuri movies. She is Bir­baha Hansda, daugh­ter of Chu­ni­bala Hansda, the Jhark­hand Party (Naren fac­tion) can­di­date from Jhar­gram.

Hansda has been fielded from Bin­pur as a Jhark­hand Party (Naren) can­di­date. In­ter­est­ingly, this award-win­ning ac­tor from San­thali movies is im­mensely pop­u­lar in parts of Jun­glema­hal, es­pe­cially in the ar­eas near the Ben­gal-Jhark­hand re­gion. Even though Chu­ni­bala Hansda has sup­port from CPM in Jhar­gram and fight­ing as an ally of the com­mu­nists, Bir­baha Hansda is tak­ing on the sit­ting MLA of CPM in Bin­pur, which per­haps sums up the com­plex­ity of pol­i­tics be­ing played out in the Jan­galma­hal re­gion. Bir­baha, who acted in eight San­thali movies and has won half a dozen awards, is a new to pol­i­tics. The 33-year-old ac­tor was raised in Jhar­garm, though later she shifted base to Ranchi to pur­sue her act­ing ca­reer. She started her ca­reer as a Bharat­natyam dancer, and her mother Chu­ni­bala, a two-term MLA from Bin­pur, is an ac­com­plished dancer.

“Pol­i­tics is in my blood. Even though I have a suc­cess­ful ca­reer, I want to do some­thing for my tribal com­mu­nity to which I be­long,” said Bir­baha. Bir­baha’s fa­ther Naren Hansda had founded the Jhark­hand Party (Naren), and her mother joined pol­i­tics only af­ter Naren Hansda’s death in 2000. Naren was a seven-time MLA of Bin­pur, the assem­bly seat dom­i­nated by tribal vot­ers. Sig­nif­i­cantly, the Jhark­hand Party (Naren) calls it­self the only tribal party, and en­joys the sup­port of trib­als in large parts of Jun­glema­hal.

Bir­baha is pit­ted against Dibakar Hansda, the sit­ting MLA of CPM, who de­feated her mother in 2011. Even though Jhark­hand Party (Naren) al­lied with the CPM for two seats, Left Front chair­man Bi­man Bose de­clined to va­cate the Bin­pur seat. “We had asked for two seats. They left Jhar­gram for us, but didn’t agree on Bin­pur. Jhark­hand Party (Naren)’s birth place is Bin­pur. And we have max­i­mum sup­port here. That is why I am fight­ing from this seat. But this is a friendly fight,” she added.

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