For Kolkata-based fashion designer Agnimitra Paul, joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a fangirl moment, an opportunity to work under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and fulfill her plans for West Bengal’s development.
“It is because of Narendra Modi that I joined the party. I admire him; I am a big fan and would be happy to work under his leadership. I have joined BJP for him, nobody else and nothing more. I like his speeches, policies and the kind of work that he has done for the country. Because of his international policies, India is in a very strong position,” Paul told IANS in an interview.
“I have been doing a lot of social work though. But I will be able to do it on a bigger scale, give my service to many more people”.
She has been working on social causes like acid attack survivors, visually challenged and the like.
Paul, known for designing costumes for Bollywood films like “Koi Mere Dil Se Pooche” and “Via Darjeeling”, never had political inclinations even a month-and-a-half ago, when she approached the BJP. No other political party had approached her till then.
“In the last 23 years of my career as a designer, I have been completely apolitical. I have never been to a political gathering, function or any kind of morcha,” she said.
A Jadavpur University alumnus, she acknowledges development work undertaken in terms of beautification of Kolkata, but feels much more needs to be done in the areas of employment generation, health services and education.
“As far as beautification is concerned, a lot of work has been done. The city looks clean and beautiful.
“But I think employment generation has to be there, as it is the core of problems like criminal activities. A middle-class man or a woman wants a good job, health services and education for the children. These three things are important for them and much has not been done in all of these,” she said.
She is engaged in a project named ‘Agnita’ with underprivileged women in the Sunderbans. She is teaching them to stitch and they are learning and earning at the same time.
Paul wants to set up a workshop for women to manufacture sanitary napkins for distributing them in the villages at a very nominal cost.
“I want to set up a textile hub where I will develop the fabric and there will be gradual value additions. I have big plans like energy conservation projects.”
Asked about BJP’s prospects in the state and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s “Delhi Chalo” dream, she said: “I am very new so I am a student giving my exams in politics and she is also giving her exams. The public will be answering and I am nobody to comment.”
“As a woman, I appreciate her (Banerjee), her struggles and the position she has attained”.
On her possible candidature for Lok Sabha elections, Paul said: “It completely depends on the party. If they think I am capable, I am ready for it. If not I would be happy with other opportunities to work for the people.”
On social media trolls and questions aimed at new candidates like Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan, she said: “I think it is very wrong, as youth should be given a chance. We should be judged as novices and be given a chance to learn”.
“In 1997, when I joined designing I knew nothing about it and today I am well-known, so who knows whether I will be a good politician? It only depends on how honest and dedicated a person is in his/her work”, she added.