In the Congress’s list of observers for poll-bound states announced earlier this week, one name stood out.
Former Union minister Deepa Dasmunsi, a known Mamata Banerjee critic, was named the senior observer for Telangana. Dasmunsi’s appointment, according to sources, is an indication that she might be asked to re-enter electoral politics in West Bengal. Congress insiders said if the INDIA alliance contests the Lok Sabha elections, Dasmunsi may get a ticket from one of the parliamentary constituencies in north Bengal, a region where the BJP made massive gains last time.
Dasmunsi is a former Congress MLA (from 2006 to 2009) from Goalpokhar in Uttar Dinajpur district. Her husband was former Union minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi of the Congress, who died in 2017. Dasmunsi took over the mantle from her husband after he suffered a massive stroke and paralysis on October 12, 2008. Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi remained on life support till his death in 2017. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Dasmunsi won the Raiganj parliamentary seat in Uttar Dinajpur, taking Priya Ranjan’s place.
In August 2009, she became a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice. In October 2012, Dasmunsi was made Union minister of state for urban development.
She lost Raiganj in 2014 to the CPI(M)’s Mohammad Salim by a slim margin of 1,634 votes. In a closely fought election, Salim’s vote share was 29% while Deepa got 28.5% of the votes.
In 2017, she was made the working president of West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee. Since then, she had kept a low profile in West Bengal politics but that is likely to change with this latest appointment.
Dasmunsi received her MA in Dramatics from Rabindra Bharati University, earning a gold medal. A stage performer since 1984, she later diversified as a television artist, costume designer, and even an art director for TV serials and short films. She was once elected president of the Delhi Women’s Football Association.