Call it a tragedy of tragedies. Chandra Bose, the grand nephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose who is also the BJP candidate from Bhawanipore, is not getting even 500 square feet of space on rent to set up his election office.
This is happening in the very neighbourhood where his legendary forefathers Subhas Bose and Sarat Bose lived.
Chandra’s allegation: Trinamool workers are telling house owners not to give space on rent to the BJP candidate.
Ironically, the ancestral home of Netaji was on Elgin Road which is in the Bhawanipore constituency. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is a contestant from this constituency.
Bose and other BJP workers are running from pillar to post to find a small office room in the constituency from which they will run their election office. All Bose needs is two rooms of about 500 sq ft where he will put up laptops and organise his poll campaign.
“We just need two rooms to open our election office. But our search since March 10 has been futile. Everyone we approached unofficially told us that the Trinamool Congress warned them of dire consequences after the polls if anyone rents us two rooms,” Bose told Hindustan Times.
“This is a prestigious seat for the ruling party as the chief minister is the candidate here. So, TMC workers are out to ensure that the BJP does not even get an election office,” added Bose.
Trinamool Congress leader and councillor of ward number 70, Asim Basu, who won from a BJP ticket in Kolkata Municipal polls in 2014 and later switched over to the Trinamool Congress said, “In my area, people are happy with the work done by the chief minister. That’s why BJP is not getting any room,” Basu told HT.
“It’s incredible. Can you think of Gandhi’s family members not getting a space on rent in Porbandar, or Bhagat Singh’s relatives not managing one in Punjab?” said Bose’s election agent and BJP mandal president in Bhawanipore Nitin Patel.
Netaji’s family has three houses in Bhawanipore constituency. One is Netaji Bhawan, the ancestral house from where Subhas Chandra Bose made his dramatic escape in January 1941 with the help of nephew Sishir Bose. The house has been converted into a museum.
Another family house is located in Woodburn Park. It is now under the state government and houses Netaji Open University.
Another family house is also located in Bhawanipore where relatives of Bose stay.
Chandra stays a few kms away in Golpark which is under Rashbehari assembly constituency. “I could have made my home an election office, but it is located in another constituency,” said Bose.
Bose’s election agent Patel, too, has been trying for a small office.
“Everywhere we go, the landlords and promoters are turning us down. Some are saying there is no room while others are privately telling us that they will have to stay in Bhawanipore after the polls. If their water supply lines are cut after polls, who will help them? Promoters apprehend they may face problems if they help us,” said Patel.
The BJP also alleged that party flags and hoardings are not being allowed to be put up or are being brought down in the pretext of ‘lack off permission’. “Everybody is scared of Trinamool men here. We will shortly notify the Election Commission,” added Patel.
Ironically, when he was with BJP Asim Basu failed to set up a party office in the locality. He had to operate from his personal office in the ground floor of his home. Later, when he joined Trinamool, he got an office.
On March 9, BJP said that Chandra will contest against Mamata in Bhawanipore. From March 10, he started to look for an election office.