Ground Report: In Tagore town Bolpur, devta versus daanav play has voters hooked

I ask Dr Anirban Ganguly the way it feels to play god. He laughs a hearty snigger and says it’s individuals who make gods of males. “I am here to serve the people. Whatever they make me, I shall be,” BJP’s Bolpur candidate tells me.

It is a dusty April day on this sleepy town that after housed Bengal’s tallest icon Rabindranath Tagore. The Shantiniketan neighbourhood stays Bolpur’s largest draw with the sprawling Visva Bharati University campus and recollections of the bard who wrote nationwide anthems for each India and Bangladesh.

Bolpur’s voters although at the moment are watching a non-Tagore play, the combat between a devta and a daanav.

Devta versus daanav:

Local BJP staff are projecting the bespectacled, fair-skinned, and controversy-free director of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, Dr Ganguly, who can also be a scholar of civilisation, historical past, politics and tradition, as some type of devta who will restore Bolpur’s previous glory. There aren’t any prizes for guessing who the daanav is for BJP supporters in Bolpur. It is Trinamool Congress’ Anubrata Mondal, whose statements make tabloid headlines and actions allegedly make mincemeat of his political rivals. This is his town.

The Trinamool Congress candidate from Bolpur this election is the sitting legislator and fisheries minister Chandranath Sinha. But Sinha has been largely absent from his constituency to date, and it’s occasion strongman Mondal who’s tasked with retaining Bolpur voters in Trinamool’s kitty.

Today, the obtrusive solar has saved residents indoors. But at a temple compound in Rathindra Pally, a posse of BJP staff has gathered to greet Ganguly and stroll with him by way of Bolpur’s lanes and bylanes, spreading the message of the occasion, chanting Joy Shri Ram.

Before Ganguly’s cavalcade got here in, I requested a celebration employee arranging copies of the BJP manifesto for Bengal in neat stacks, to be distributed amongst residents they’ll go to later, how fashionable Ganguly is. After all, Ganguly has come from Delhi and isn’t a really previous face in Bengal politics. “This is one constituency where the party has selected the right candidate,” he says. So there are constituencies the place the BJP has not fielded the precise candidates? I quip. “Don’t get me into trouble, dada,” the person smiles. “But Ganguly-da is the answer to Anubrata Mondal’s politics of terror.”

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The bohiragoto debate:

Can a bohiragoto (outsider) win the center of Bolpur? I ask Ganguly as he waves on the crowd of supporters who throng him. “The very concept of bohiragoto is alien to Bengal and especially to Bolpur. Do not forget Tagore invited foreigners to Shantiniketan. So how can Trinamool introduce such an absurd insider-outsider debate?” he tells me.

The different cost in opposition to his occasion after all is that of appropriating icons before elections. “Tagore does not belong to any political party. He is Bengal’s icon, he is India’s and the world’s. Celebrating our greats, honouring them doesn’t mean appropriation.”

As Ganguly vanishes into the gang, a query lingers. Is he too new and too “cultured” for the tough and tumble of Bengal politics, particularly in a constituency that’s totally below Anubrata Mondal’s management?

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Mamata’s man Mondal:

Not way back, Bengal BJP went to the Election Commission in opposition to Mondal and Trinamool Congress workers for “creating an atmosphere of fear”. There had been allegations of the “cold-blooded murder” of a BJP employee. Bapi Ankure was “ruthlessly murdered by TMC goons because of his political affiliation,” the BJP had alleged.

But Anubrata Mondal, the president of the Trinamool’s Birbhum district unit and a confidante of Mamata Banerjee, has lengthy been controversy’s favorite little one or daanav, in the event you go by the BJP. Mondal had as soon as allegedly advised supporters to throw bombs on police and set homes of political rivals on fireplace. In a latest interview with a lady reporter who asks him concerning the occasion’s slogan ‘Khela Hobe’ (sport on) he tells her anybody can play with anybody, he doesn’t thoughts enjoying together with her. In the video, the reporter shortly adjustments the subject.

“Bolpur needs to change the conversation. It is Tagore town after all and all we talk about now are corruption and slothfulness,” Deboshruti Roychowdhury, Dean, Students’ Affairs, Ashoka University, who has a home in Bolpur and flies down each occasionally from Haryana to be together with her household tells me. “I am a Bolpur voter and I want an MLA with a clean image who will be present in the constituency. The current MLA Chandranath is hardly here. Visva Bharati University is in a mess, we need healthcare and better electricity and an end to corruption.”

So you want a devta? I ask.

Roychowdhury smiles. “A decent human being will do.”

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