Union Minister Babul Supriyo, a two-time MP from Asansol, has been drafted by the BJP as it stakes its most popular Bengal faces in this election.
The 50-year-old junior environment minister will contest from Tollygunge in Kolkata, the heart of the Bengal film industry, and will take on Arup Biswas, a state minister who is close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Since he joined politics in 2014 and won an unlikely victory in Asansol against a formidable Trinamool Congress opponent, Mr Supriyo has been in the news for his relentless criticism of the Mamata Banerjee government in the state.
Mr Supriyo, a singer, defeated Trinamool’s Dola Sen by 60,000 votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. In 2019, he pulled off a surprise victory against popular actress Moon Moon Sen, who was dubbed the “giant killer” in 2014 after she defeated a nine-time Left lawmaker in Bankura.
The BJP leadership will hope that his winning streak continues.
One of the fiercest critics of the Trinamool government, Mr Supriyo recently triggered a controversy with his tweet targeting Mamata Banerjee.
Poking fun at the Trinamool’s election slogan “Bengal wants its daughter”, Mr Supriyo posted an image of Home Minister Amit Shah and Mamata Banerjee, saying: “A daughter is someone else’s wealth, will be sent off.” Mr Supriyo shared it on his social media accounts, adding, “Yes, we will send her off this time.” He later deleted it and even hit back at the critics.
After his election win in 2014, Mr Supriyo was inducted in the Narendra Modi government as the Union Minister of State, Ministry of Urban Development; and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation. He was the youngest minister in the Modi government. In 2016, his portfolio was changed to Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
Babul Supriyo began his career as a banker before he quit to pursue music. He has sung in several popular Hindi and Bengali movies. He is also an actor and television host.