Is Buddha’s home where the vote is? | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Is Buddha’s home where the vote is?

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has Trinamool Congress for company. Almost all walls in his neighbourhood at Palm Avenue are adorned with the ghasphool symbols or have Subrata Mukherjee’s name leaping them. Sandip Chowdhury reports.

kolkata Updated: Apr 11, 2011 16:33 IST
Sandip Chowdhury

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has Trinamool Congress for company. Almost all walls in his neighbourhood at Palm Avenue are adorned with the ghasphool symbols or have Subrata Mukherjee’s name leaping them.

Fuad Halim, the CPI(M) candidate from Ballygunge, has been relegated to just a few walls. Posters, banners, graffiti, flags — Palm Avenue and its neighbourhood seem to be monopoly of the Trinamool candidate.

Mukherjee’s face may be beaming at every passerby in the locality but the popular former mayor is not much liked on Bhattacharjee’s neighbourhood — as a public representative or even as a politician.

“Unlike Javed Khan, who is the sitting MLA of this area, Mukherjee is an opportunist and cannot be relied on. Again, the CPI(M) candidate, Fuad Halim, is a complete unknown face in this locality. It is because of Sushil Sharma that he might get votes, but you cannot say who will take the lead because apartment voters who are Congress loyalists might vote for the alliance candidate,” said an elderly resident of the locality.

Another man in his mid-forties claiming to be a Congress supporter said the CPI (M) is ahead of Trinamool in maintaining discipline both inner-party and outside. “If CPI (M) dominates the area, it would not make noise out of small things and let it be solved between the parties involved, whereas Trinamool in stark contrast would pock their nose in all matters.”

When HT visited Bhattacharjee’s neighbourhood to assess the poll ambience, the lane in front of Bhattacharjee’s house wore a deserted look with only police and securitymen doing the rounds.

“Since Buddhababu became the police minister our locality has changed. Earlier, as children, we used to play cricket right in front of his house. But now everything has changed,” said a 23-year-old youth.

Locals are all praise for the chief minister but have serious reservations about his wife and daughter. A young man shared a nightmarish experience. “I was a schoolboy then and had been cycling through the lane in front of the chief minister’s house. While cycling, I suddenly noticed the chief minister’s wife, Meera, stepping out and crossing the road. Confused, I managed to paddle away without hurting her. But shortly after the incident, I was stopped and arrested and put in the lock-up for doing nothing,” said the youth. It is hard to say which colour the chief minister’s para will be painted in. The million-dollar question will be replied to on May 13.