Jadavpur can make you or break you: Saayani

She has earned the affection of Trinamul chairperson Mamata Banerjee and also been in the shoes of Abhishek Banerjee as Youth Trinamul Congress president

Jadavpur can make you or break you: Saayani

Saayani Ghosh, Trinamul Congress candidate from Jadavpur (photo:SNS)

Saayani Ghosh, Trinamul Congress candidate from Jadavpur is on a litmus test. Someone, who has earned the affection of Trinamul chairperson Mamata Banerjee and also been in the shoes of Abhishek Banerjee as Youth Trinamul Congress president, Sayani feels Jadavpur is a constituency which can make or break a candidate.

The strong-willed, articulate and hardworking candidate speaks to Ashok Chatterjee about her political journey, being blessed by Mamata Banerjee and her mass connect.

How much of your vast constituency have you managed to cover?


I’m on the ground running from the day my name was announced in March. There are seven Assembly constituencies within Jadavpur LS constituency. I’ve been working with the MLAs and organisational heads in designing my campaigns. It is a new experience in terms of covering such areas like Jadavpur, Bhangar, Baruipur etc. Each of them have their own character and demand a different approach, while some booths need more attention. In some places, you have intelligentsia and in others, very ordinary people. I’m trying to strike a balance. Public meetings and communication have always been my forte. I love people and vice versa, the bond is absolutely unconditional.

When you started, the city was in the midst of a heat wave and now the cyclone!

Campaigning in the extreme heat has been difficult but we have dealt with such situations before, be it during Assembly election or the earlier LS election. Polls usually happen in the summers. It has been tough being in the scorching sun. I kept myself and my team hydrated with coconut water, sugarcane juice, ORS and very light meals. One has to take care of one’s health to be out and meet people, do rallies. Work has to go on. As an actor I need to be extra careful about sun tan, blisters etc (laughs).

You have contested for an Assembly seat before. How different is fighting for a Lok Sabha seat?

When I started in 2021, I had very little knowledge of politics, on the demarcations and demands of block, booth and organisational districts. This time I’m more seasoned. Also, my experience of working for the organisation for a few years has helped. I recognise people, the MLAs and know their contributions. They also know my capabilities as a youth leader. I’m not their MP yet, it’s all hopes and promises now. But, I think people are convinced with me. I’m more of a politician than an actor. I have done 3-4 films in last three years but done 350-400 political meetings, sabhas, rallies and campaigns till now, all over India. I’m not a part-time politician.

What has been the biggest challenge in Jadavpur LS constituency?

Water! Our chief minister has assured us that the problem of drinking water will be sorted by the end of this year. Providing them tap water is a huge process and takes time. When I visit areas, I can see a lot of work has already been done. The distribution lines have been laid, digging to lay the underground pipes is on. You just have to tell people about the progress and assure them. People’s foremost demand is that they want their MP to be seen more often amidst them. They want my attendance in Parliament; want me to be with them in their hour of need.

You have a huge responsibility after being chosen to contest from Jadavpur. Mamata Banerjee became an MP for the first time in 1984 from here.

It also puts a lot of pressure on you when you think of these associations. When I was given the post of youth president of the party, Mamata di had told me, ‘I was the party’s youth president. All these years, I did not assign this post to any woman. You are getting it after me. There are a lot of challenges and you have to work very hard.’ As Trinamul youth president, it also meant fitting into Abhishek Banerjee’s shoes. He also gave me ample scope to work and a free hand. So Jadavpur has the capacity to either make you or break you. I believe what Jadavpur thinks today, Bengal thinks tomorrow. This election will be very decisive for the people of Jadavpur and also for me as it will decide what course I take after this.

Which is your first choice, Jadavpur or Asansol as you also contested from there?

Jadavpur is my home ground. I have practically grown up here, went to school and college here and have an emotional-connect. I also lost my mother here, who also worked for the people. I have memories in every lane and bylane here. I have been working in Tripura, Bengal-Bangladesh border, Bengal-Jharkhand border, Goa and have given very little time to Jadavpur per say, as far as organisational work is concerned. Now, when I’m stepping here, the expressions of the people tell me that I’m like their daughter.

You are a natural crowd-puller at your public meetings. You crack jokes, sing for them.

I’m a diploma holder in music, so I like singing at meetings. At these political meetings, people are not just entertained by lectures, after some time it becomes boring. You have to get into their wavelength. You have to create fun moments through music, dance etc.

Jadavpur’s last MP was Mimi Chakraborty from your party and was also an actor like you. Are you conscious about your image?

People have been seeing me. They know I’m not a full-time actor like her. I’m mostly in a sari and slippers, with least make-up and hairstyling. I won’t do anything which gives the impression that an actress has come in their midst. I do nothing to alienate myself. That also gives them hope. Even for the roles I play on screen, I’m not the typical heroine. I have done parallel films, sensible films. People know that I’m not an armchair politician. People have seen me that I have not vanished after losing in Asansol in 2021.

You are known to be close to Mamata Banerjee. How much have you learnt from her?

I’m at a loss of words when I have to talk about her. Mamata Banerjee is an idea. My biggest takeaway from her is her simplicity, her selflessness and the drive that she has within. From morning 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., she is at it, challenging the Prime Minister, running around the state, without a break. That motivates me. I learnt the true meaning of ‘simple living, high thinking’ from her.

Will acting continue or will it take a backseat now?

Of course, it will continue but there are limitations. I represent so many people, I have to take care of my fellow workers. They have an idea of me and I have to be careful about my dialogues, characters and the production team I work with. I think it is better to do quality work than quantity work.

You are known for your fiery personality, been arrested for saying ‘khela hobe’, have faced CBI grilling.

What doesn’t break you makes you stronger. The shock value is over for me. I have realised that if you have to fight the BJP, it’s all in the package. You cannot be playing safe; politics is not a bed of roses. You need to be focused. For me, there is no going back.