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HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014

Salt Lake walls much cleaner

Sandip Chowdhury, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, April 20, 2011
First Published: 14:03 IST(20/4/2011) | Last Updated: 14:05 IST(20/4/2011)

The writing is not on the wall for assembly poll hopefuls from Bidhannagar constituency and visitors to Salt Lake may be stumped by absence of poll graffiti in the so-called VIP township.

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Both candidates have stayed away from cluttering the walls, which is ubiquitous to polls in Left-ruled Bengal. A tour by the HT team across Salt Lake revealed clean walls in housing cooperatives such as Labony, Vidyasagar, Karunamoyee and Baisakhi. "Come elections and our walls are defiled. This time it has been a happy exception," said Bacchu Ghosh, a resident of Vidyasagar.

So whom should Salt Lake residents thank? Do they thank Left Front heavyweights like finance minister Asim Dasgupta, commerce and industries minister, forest minister Ananta Ray for persuading the Marxist cadres from the muck on the wall. After all, CPI(M) is the most wall-savvy political party. Well not quite.

Displaying maturity far beyond his years, CPI(M) poll debutant Palash Das said, "The Election Commission have asked us not to write on walls of cooperatives and government housings. So this time we are depending on door-to-door campaigns, small group meetings and circulating leaflets."

The candidate who comes from a software background said, "The city is so beautiful with every house being landscaped that there is hardly any chance to write on walls."

Das is absolutely right. Salt Lake residents are proud of their houses and spend hard-earned money to give it a yearly coat of paint. It would be a courageous candidate who will anger voters.

Trinamool candidate Sujit Bose for once agrees with his opponent. Displaying political sagacity, the former Marxist street fighter and once aide to Subhas Chakraborty said, "I do not want to make such a beautiful place dirty. Bose would know. After all, his boss was a Salt Lake resident and his wife still stays here.

Bose, a resident of Swabhumi in nearby Lake Town displays a class bias. "I have written on walls in the added areas and refrained myself from walls in the upscale township." So how is he going to communicate with the electorate? "I have chosen to hang banners in bus stands and lampposts, which is permissible by the poll panel," said the Trinamool candidate.

However, not all Salt Lake residents see red where graffiti is concerned. Aditya Mukherjee, a resident of Vidyasagar said, "If political parties had approached our society we would have considered if they had promised us clean walls after the poll battle."


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