Santhali Actress to Fight Bengal Polls
Award winning actress Birbaha Hansda fielded from Binpur as a Jharkhand Party (Naren) candidate
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.