At Birbhum’s Miriti village, Sunday was Holi, Diwali and Durga Puja rolled into one. Drums beat, crackers burst, conches blew, gulal reddened the earth and every hand was piled with sweets.
Miriti’s little Poltu had become India’s first citizen.
From early morning, every family was glued to television sets, avidly watching as the results of the presidential poll rolled in, marking the fortunes of Pranab Mukherjee.
At Porota village’s “Rajlaxmi Bhavan” 82-year-old Annapurna, Mukherjee’s elder sister was ecstatic. “It is my life’s best gift… what he has achieved, he has achieved in his own,” she said.
Nadia’s Billwagram, the ancestral village of Mukherjee, too, was overjoyed. Even now, the family owns nearly 9 bighas of land and Mukherjee often comes for a visit. As the locals began a victory march through the village, many affectionately recalled their ties with the new President. Also being recalled were tales of a time when he had tea at a neighbour’s house, the appreciation he showed for another’s date-palm juice, the car lifts he gave people and the road accident he had in nearby Bethuadahari.