"I have given my word to Mamatadi that I will pull out all stops to wrest Ghatal from the the opposition," says Dev, Bengali cinema's reigning hero and one of the film stars fielded by Trinamool Congress for the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal.
But Dev, 32, will have to fight the looming poll battle with his hands tied behind his back – and he knows it. Like other Trinamool candidates, superstar Dev too is forbidden to use his pictures in the election campaign to woo voters. But he is not pulling a long face.
"I do not expect the party to make an exception for me just because I am a film star. Rules are rules and I will play by the rules," said Dev, adding, "As a Trinamool candidate, I realize that electioneering rules are framed by very experienced party leaders. And I am just a greenhorn."
It has come to light that a bunch of over-enthusiastic Trinamool workers in Ghatal had ordered five feet by four feet posters of Dev at a printing press in Midnapore. But when the district Trinamool president, Dinen Ray, heard about it he lost his cool and instructed the press to immediately stop its printing.
According to the reports, Ray made it clear that elections posters can carry Dev's name and his profession – acting — but not his photographs. Instead of Dev's photograph, he clarified, the posters will have Mamata Banerjee's photograph.
Ray was quoted saying: "In our party, personalities do not matter, only policies do. We will campaign with Didi's pictures and the party symbol. Posters and banners can have names of candidates mentioning their profession as actor or doctor or whatever."
It's abundantly clear that campaign material for other actors like Sandhya Roy and Moon Moon Sen, singers Indranil Sen and Soumitro Mitra, footballer Baichung Bhutia and Harvard academic Sugata Bose who have been roped in because of their popularity, will be subjected to Trinamool's "one party, one leader, one photo" principle.
The principle, in fact, applies to everyone contesting on a Trinamool ticket, including full-time politicians who have been with Mamata since the birth of the Trinamool Congress.