One of the five MPs roped into Bengal elections as a candidate, Locket Chatterjee today is the most visible woman leader in the BJP’s Bengal team. The actor-turned politician has been with the party since 2015, after a brief association with the Trinamool Congress.
The 47-year-old had quit the ruling party a year before 2016 state assembly election, saying she was feeling “suffocated”, especially after the Saradha and the Roxe Valley Ponzi schemes, in which many leaders of the party were allegedly involved.
“I had joined the Trinamool to work but certain incidents and circumstances made me feel suffocated. In my opinion, people in the BJP are doing some constructive work and thus, I decided to join the party,” she had told the media.
The BJP had given her a big welcome, dubbing her “Didi-r Locket” to convey her closeness to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Ms Chatterjee, however, failed to open her account in the first election contested on a BJP ticket. In 2016, she contested the assembly elections from Mayureshwar but lost to Abhijit Roy of Trinamool Congress.
In 2019, the BJP fielded her from Hooghly where she beat sitting Congress MP Ratna De (Nag) by more than 70,000 votes. Her campaign was novel, with Locket Chatterjee riding around the constituency on a scooter and a bicycle.
After winning Hooghly — which includes the high profile Assembly seat of Singur — there was no looking back. Over the years, Ms Chatterjee has emerged as a vocal member, sparring with her former colleagues of Trinamool over subjects as varied as “cut money”, political violence in the state and sexist behaviour.
In the run-up to the election, she even took on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over her warning to the BJP about a “wounded tigress” being more dangerous than a healthy one.
“There are wounded tigresses in every Bengal home. They will respond on the EVM box,” Locket Chatterjee had retaliated.
Despite her joining the party far ahead of most Trinamool leaders — two years ahead of Mukul Roy — the BJP had kept her at arms’ length. The key post of the chief of the party’s women’s wing had gone another actor — Rupa Ganguli, who had played “Draupadi” in the hugely popular ’80s television serial “Mahabharat”.
After serving as a member of the parliamentary committee on Empowerment of Women, she was made the general secretary of the party’s women’s wing in Bengal and eventually, the general secretary of the state.
The Hooghly MP was roped in for Bengal elections along with four others, including Union minister Babul Supriyo, as acceptable Bengali faces in the coming elections.
She has been fielded from Chinsurah which is part of the Hooghly constituency that she represents in parliament. But news of her candidature was greeted with protests by the BJP because it deprived a locally popular BJP worker, Subir Nag, of the ticket. Mr Nag has, however, hit the streets to campaign with Locket Chatterjee.
Before joining politics, Locket Chatterjee was among the key actors in Tollywood, working in around 30 films. One of her hits was called ‘Fighter’.