Vaishali Dalmiya hopes to be people’s person like Mamata (IANS Interview)

Kolkata, March 16 (IANS) With administrative astuteness in her genes and good friend Sourav Ganguly to guide, former sports administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya’s daughter Vaishali is confident of fulfilling her political aspiration of becoming a “people’s person”, much like her role model Mamata Banerjee, the West Bengal chief minsiter.

Making her electoral debut from Bally constituency in neighbouring Howrah district on a Trinamool Congress ticket, Vaishali Dalmiya asserts her father would have been more than happy to see her taking the political plunge even though the late ICC and BCCI chief, in his lifetime, remained averse to politicians entering sports administration.

“Engaged in social service since the age of 14, politics for me is a natural progression to the next level of public service,” Vaishali told IANS at her plush office here in Theatre Road.

Politics, she said, gave her the platform to reach out to the people at the grassroots and work for them. “Had my father been alive, he would not only have been happy, but would have encouraged and helped me in my political endeavour,” she said.

Groomed by her father, Vaishali has now taken over the reins of the family business, and claims to have inherited Dalmiya’s administrative abilities.

“You can say my USP is I am daughter of a person who was famous for his administrative abilities and uprightness, and of course hard work. All these are in my genes and, yes, much like my father who could never be cornered, I too have the ability to fight back in adverse situations,” says Vaishali.

But why should a political greenhorn who has lived a lavish lifestyle expect to get the thumbs up from a constituency like Bally with a fair section of rural and poor voters?

Playing with a straight bat, she says: “It’s not me they will be voting for, they would be voting for Trinamool and Mamata Banerjee, who has in just five years transformed the whole state. Every district and every block is an emphatic evidence of the development ushered in by her.”

“Didi (Mamata Banerjee) is the reason I have joined politics. The most noticeable aspect about her is she delivers whatever she promises and the best thing about her is she believes in being human,” she said.

Mamata was voice of the masses who always had the time to listen to their problems, their aspirations and redress them. “It’s Didi’s people’s persona that I want to emulate,” said Vaishali.

Well, the advice to follow in Didi’s footsteps came from none other than former India captain and close family friend Sourav Ganguly.

“We had discussions about my political journey and he advised me to follow Didi and try to become a people’s person like her. He said it’s important to reach out to the masses and know about their problems,” says Vaishali, who has started moving around in her constituency, going from door to door to meet the voters.

Vaishali has plans to set up a sports academy in her constituency, and says Ganguly — who enjoys a cult status across the state — would canvass for her.

“He will be campaigning for me in April and I have also discussed the issue of setting up the academy with him,” Vaishali said.

The 47-year-old and a single mother is also confident of managing all aspects of her life. “For the past 21 years, I have been working and keeping a balance with personal life. I can do the same with politics,” she said.

Trinamool candidate Sultan Singh had won the seat in 2011 by a margin of over 6,000 votes.

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