Kolkata: If you think politicians are in charge of campaigning in West Bengal’s election season, think again.
It is actually astrologers who decide on the timing of everything that politicians do — from filing of nominations, releasing manifestoes and even the duration of rallies to ensure that the candidate wins.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is known for holding such beliefs, is said to have consulted her astrologer on the timing of release of the manifesto of her party Trinamool Congress (TMC).
It was her astrologer who decided on the time of filing nomination on Friday so that she can win by a big margin. Other TMC leaders have also consulted their astrologers on the timing of rallies, nomination filing and other key events that mark the journey of a candidate during the election process.
Banerjee has such deep-rooted belief in astrological charts and timings that five years ago, while taking oath as chief minister, she actually changed the time so that it matched with that prescribed by her astrologers.
“Didi [Banerjee] has extreme belief in astrology and consults [astrologists] whenever she makes important decisions,” said a family member admitting that even her schedules on important meetings with Prime Ministers and other key politicians are decided based on astrological charts.
“Her schedule is decided by her astrologers if she goes to Delhi for meetings. She takes appointments accordingly.”
Politicians from the opposition benches are equal believers as Banerjee’s opponent in Bhawanipur constituency Congress candidate Deepa Das Munshi have also filed her nomination papers based on the time advised by her astrologer.
Most of the candidates are also seeking divine help as most have started the campaign after offering “puja” to the family god or goddesses of their choice.
“Election is not only a legal affair but over years has become a family affair in the houses of many politicians. Hence many decision are also taken by other family members and we abide by the same,” said veteran politician Subrata Mukherjee.
Though Left leaders, who are said to be non-believers, many have not let the opportunity to taunt their opponents go unnoticed.
“Politicians who do not have believe in people need to seek such help as they are unsure of their next steps. In a democracy participation is more important than winning,” said Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) leader, Sujan Chakraborty.
Many astrologers have also predicted the results with most favouring a win by the TMC, though some have even predicted a hung assembly.
“She [Banerjee] will be back in the chief minister’s chair by 22 May. Though she will lose some seats, there is no question of her getting defeated,” said Abhijit Sanyal, an astrologer consulted by many politicians in the state.
However, some predicted a hung assembly with Congress and CPM party combine gaining in key regions of the state. “There is a huge chance of a hung assembly as I predict political instability in the state for the next two years,” said Kuntal Das, another astrologer.