She has been in active politics for decades and even a minister in the Left government, but Deblina Hembram, CPI(M) candidate from Jhargram Lok Sabha seat, shot into the limelight only after a fiery speech she made at a rally in February went viral on YouTube.
In her seven-minute speech, made at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground, Hembram is seen demanding account of work from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), accusing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of lying and hollering “charbok nai” [won’t spare you].
Ever since, 48-year-old Hembram, who is not on social media and does not even have an email account, has won over a considerable fan following on the video sharing platform. While one video of her speech has more than five lakh views, another has been watched over 47,000 times.
Speaking to PTI at the office of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) here, Hembram said she had no idea that her speech had created such a ripple and added that she was happy that people wanted to hear what she had to say.
“It came from the heart. I guess my passion for politics and the Left tumbled out. I had not prepared a word,” she said.
In her speech at the Brigade Parade Ground, Hembram challenged Banerjee to list what she has done for the poor in the state, especially the tribals. She said people did not want charity, but development.
“Lying will not help, we will not spare you,” she roared, amid a deafening applause. Preparing to address a public rally at a school ground near the CPI(M) office in what was once a Maoist stronghold, Hembram accused the TMC of creating an atmosphere of fear.
“There has been a lot of violence in these areas. We have lost hundreds of comrades. People are scared. They (TMC) have created an atmosphere of fear and want to get rid of the Left,” she said. Hembram, who lives in Bankura, takes a bus while campaigning. She is billed as a dark horse in the race for the Jhargram Lok Sabha seat — a former Left bastion.
Eleven other candidates are in the fray in the constituency that goes to polls in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections on May 12. Prominent among them are TMC’s Birbaha Saren and BJP’s Kunar Hembram. In 2014, TMC’s Uma Soren had wrested the seat from Pulin Bihari Baske of the CPI(M), ending the Left’s 42-year domination in the constituency.