"Four phases of the Lok Sabha elections have been conducted in West Bengal. The final phase will be on May 12, which will also mark the conclusion of the 10-phased general election that began April 7. The results will be announced May 16."
Kolkata, May 8 - Celebrities and controversies seem to walk hand in hand. They spiced up the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal all right, but constantly under the scrutiny of the common man, the stars-turned-politicos have often been caught on the wrong foot.
At the forefront is Bengali superstar Dev contesting on a Trinamool Congress ticket. The 32-year-old - in the fray from Ghatal in West Midnapore district - found himself amid a raging controversy when he compared the poll frenzy surrounding him to being raped.
The remarks made during an interview to a tabloid attracted widespread condemnation as politicians and women rights activities approached the Election Commission - seeking cancellation of his candidature. The actor, however, ended the controversy by quickly apologising on a social networking site.
Another star to hog the political limelight is glam-queen Moon Moon Sen who too is a Trinamool candidate. Daughter of late Bengali screen goddess Suchitra Sen, the 60-year-old Moon Moon became a subject of media ridicule when she claimed it would be difficult to look glamorous in the summer.
It's very difficult to look glamorous in summer but I'll see what I can do..., Sen had said of her campaign plans to her fans.
Her comments were readily lapped up by the media and the social networks and people had a field day bashing her for the outrageous comments.
Ridiculed by rivals for invoking her mother during the poll campaign, Sen yet again hit the headlines, when a three-kilometre road in parched Bankura was allegedly watered to protect her and star-daughters Riya and Raima from dust during a roadshow. Riya, however, rubbished the lies.
It was not only the common man but also her party workers at times found it hard to bear with the starry tantrums. Partymen had a harrowing time finding suitable accommodation for Moon Moon Sen, who is married into Tripura's erstwhile royal family.
After they managed an accommodation fitted with modern amenities, partymen had to reportedly scurry for a chef adept in Indian and Chinese cuisine.
She may not have the aura of her heydays, but actress Sandhya Roy - also a Trinamool nominee contesting from Midnapore - told party workers to schedule her for only a few meetings for she cannot tolerate the heat and dust.
I am from a different world, you see, the world of culture, the 73-year-old had told partymen.
Another Trinamool nominee, football icon Bhaichung Bhutia vying for electoral glory from Darjeeling in northern West Bengal, was caught offside during his very first press conference. Some local party leaders publicly expressed their unhappiness over his bid to reach out to the pro-Gorkhaland Gorkha Janmukti Morcha which has aligned with the BJP.
Birbhum Trinamool MP and actress Satabdi Roy hogged the spotlight for the wrong reason and had to apologise to the EC after she said priority for development will be given to those areas from where she corners the maximum number of votes.
Not willing to concede the limelight to Trinamool and its star power, world-renowned magician P.C. Sorcar of the BJP found himself on the verge of being arrested for shooting off his mouth. The Barasat candidate is facing a sexual harassment case and had to take anticipatory bail after he made derogatory comments against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and his rival, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of the Trinamool.
Incidentally, Dastidar had sparked national outrage when she had described the 2012 Park Street rape case where the victim was an Anglo-Indian woman as a sex deal gone wrong. She had to apologise for the remarks.
Famed Bollywood singer and BJP's Asansol candidate Babul Supriyo, who wowed millions with his silken voice, had to himself face the music after being accused of entering a temple drunk. Criminal cases were also initiated against him, including under the Arms Act.
Claiming to be a teetotaller, Supriyo and his party have dubbed the allegations baseless.
Four phases of the Lok Sabha elections have been conducted in West Bengal. The final phase will be on May 12, which will also mark the conclusion of the 10-phased general election that began April 7. The results will be announced May 16.
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