Naseeruddin Shah's Niece Saira Shah Halim To Contest Ballygunge By-Poll

The Ballygunge assembly seat has been vacant since last year after the death of sitting MLA Subrata Mukherjee last year.

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For the upcoming by-polls on the Ballygunge Assembly seat, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has decided to field Saira Shah Halim. This decision was made by the political party on March 16. Halim is the niece of actor Naseeruddin Shah. She is all set to contest the elections against the Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate Babul Supriyo, who was earlier with the Bharatiya Janata Party and then shifted parties.

Halim has begun her campaign for the upcoming by-polls yesterday. This assembly seat has been vacant since last year after the death of sitting MLA Subrata Mukherjee. The by-elections will be held on April 12 and the votes will be counted on April 16 this year. Both TMC and CPI (M) have named their candidates, BJP is yet to do so.

The Ballygunge assembly has seven wards and more than 60 percent Muslim population. Out of the seven wards, ward 60 has 95 percent Muslim voters and ward 61 has 75 percent.

For Asansol, the electoral fight is going to be between Partha Mukherjee of CPI (M) and TMC candidate and actor Shatrughan Sinha, who was earlier with BJP and Congress.

Suggested Reading: Are Women From Minorities Welcome In Indian Politics?


Who Is Saira Shah Halim?

Halim is a known face on prime time news debate shows. An activist, Halim is the daughter-in-law of former assembly speaker Hasim Abdul Halim. She is married to Dr Fuad Halim, who had also contested the Ballygunge Assembly seat for CPI (M) in 2011.

Saira Shah Halim is also a writer and an educator. She is known to have protested against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). On her candidacy from Ballygunge seat, she told HT, "I am proud of my father and my uncle but the family identity is incidental for me. I always worked for the people, took part in movements against the CAA and NRC and helped my husband run dialysis and blood donation camps. People in the Ballygunge constituency know that I will not change my ideology."

She also said that in the last assembly poll, the campaign that she did for her husband, was her introduction to politics. "I am overwhelmed, nervous and excited at the same time because there are big players involved. All I have is goodwill," she said.

On Instagram, Halim has more than 3,500 followers. Her bio mentions that she is a National Media Panellist on policy governance for CPI(M).

(Feature Image Credit: India Today)

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