Behala East goes to the polls on Saturday. In this urban constituency in Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district, the voters complain mostly of bad roads and lack of business opportunities. All three major parties have fielded women candidates — the BJP has gone with Paayel Sarkar, the Trinamool Congress Ratna Chatterjee, and the CPIM Samita Har Chowdhury.
Behala East has been a Trinamool stronghold since 2011 when Ratna’s now-estranged husband, Sovon Chatterjee, won it. He retained the seat in 2016 but, two years later, joined the BJP on the condition that he would be fielded from Behala East and his partner would be given a ticket as well.
The BJP did not come through on his conditions and Suvon now finds himself partyless — he quit in March 2021 in anger.
In a show of support, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee put up Ratna from Behala East, presumably to nullify the influence of the turncoat.
We caught up with Ratna to talk about the intense scrutiny her relationship with her estranged spouse has drawn in the media, her party’s “gunda culture”, women in politics, and more.