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The many colours of Subrata

kolkata Updated: Apr 11, 2011 16:12 IST
Mou Chakraborty

In 2009, he contested the Lok Sabha election from Bankura for Congress; in 2011 he is the Trinamool Congress candidate contesting the Assembly election from Ballygunge constituency.

If the campaign in Bankura was physically challenging for former mayor Subrata Mukherjee, the current assembly election campaign in Ballygunge is equally challenging.

“In Bankura, I had to brave the sun, there was no home-cooked food and not much sleep. But here in Ballygunge, I am getting home-cooked food and proper sleep. Though it is not as tiring, I have to be very careful. Most of the area is covered by slums and as you walk inside a home, one has to take care of your head because a little break in attention may result in physical injury. Also, in the mornings, the place is full of soap water so one has to save the feet too,” Mukherjee said with a smile.

Though Mukherjee is treading his campaign path cautiously, he is sure of winning. “While distributing tickets, Mamata Banerjee asked me which seat I would prefer, I chose this. This is my home turf. I have won several elections from here. And I know I will win this time too,” said Mukherjee.

Even as Mukherjee started his Sunday evening campaign in ward 65 near Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s house, he never took his voters lightly. “Be it Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee contesting against me or no opponent and no matter from where I am contesting an election, I never take my voters for granted and take every election campaign extremely seriously,” said Bhattacharjee as he walked inside a slum in the locality.

“I make it a point to walk down the entire constituency and visit every house. As a public representative, this is my duty. Road shows are part of the campaign but personal visits are pillars,” said Bhattacharjee as he waved at everyone around and went inside the small quarters asking for vote as his younger sister Anima Chatterjee accompanied him along with other party workers.

Though Hasim Abdul Halim’s son Fuad Halim is contesting from Ballygunge constituency for the CPI(M), Mukherjee is not worried about losing minority votes. “People in this constituency know me for several decades and they will vote for me no matter who is in my opposition. Here, people love me irrespective of religion and class,” Mukherjee said as a man came running with his two-year-old daughter whom Mukherjee promptly picked up.

Apart from ensuring that he visits every house in his constituency, Mukherjee is also keen on bringing Didi for at least one meeting or road show in his constituency. “I have heard that she may keep April 24 for this side of the city we will have to see she visits my constituency too. But the problem is we do not have such big place here where Mamata Banerjee can hold a meeting. However, let’s find a way,” he said.

Even before Mukherjee could win the election people are flocking his office with requests of favours. “It is only a matter of time that you will become an important minister in the next government. I have never requested you for anything but now please see that my son gets a job somewhere,” said a Congress old-timer.

A visibly embarrassed Mukherjee smiled and said, “Ask him to work hard he will get jobs anyway. Now is the time for us to campaign hard and win the election, let’s concentrate on this.” May the best candidate win!