KOLKATA, 22 APRIL: A heart patient with frayed nerves, Ujjal babu, greeted the state labour minister and the CPI-M candidate from Beleghata Assembly Constituency, Mr Anadi Sahoo, with choicest expletives when he arrived at his doorstep and gave him a lesson or two on Marx, Lenin and discipline.
The leader’s fan following tried to shield Mr Sahoo but he went inside, sat beside the person who was agitated over the noise made during campaigning, patiently listened to Ujjal Babu’s speech on discipline punctuated with expletives for full 5-6 minutes and said sorry for the trouble. Finally, Ujjal babu smiled and promised him his vote.
Mr Rabin Deb, CPI-M state committee member, who accompanied Mr Sahoo during the door-to-door campaigning, had to be introduced to the people along with Mr Sahoo. So, after walking along with Mr Sahoo for 45 minutes, Mr Deb left visibly ignored.
Mr Anadi Sahoo, who ventured into almost every narrow lane near Beliaghata East road, did not need local supporters to guide him. He knew his way and met people with warmth reciprocated from almost every corner of the place, specially the small workshops and manufacturing units.
The campaign started at 9.30 a.m. with Mr Sahoo telling his supporters, “deke ami shobai k, nomoskar kore di (cell everybody, let me greet them)” and asked people whether they were facing any problem in the area.
While, elderly CPI-M loyalists while meeting him recalled their old days, a few women said: “Humara khyal rakhenge to hum bhi apka khyal rakhenge (If you look after us, we will look after you).” A tongue-tied policeman rushed to the balcony of his house on the second floor and showed the minister his rice and daal smeared hand to excuse himself. “Thak thak.. bhaat khey nin (its ok. Finish you food),” Mr Sahoo said.
A youth asked for job opportunities and the minister assured him. Another woman complained about water problem and asked for a covered public toilet, the minister assured her too. “Lal Bangla, laal mati te, laal pataka urchhe”, “Dhandabaaj Trinamul k ekti vote o deben da”, “Koti koti takar churir jawab dao”, “apnar ar amader sharthe bampront shorkar k vote din” were some of the slogans raised by the supporters. When a youth remained expressionless on seeing him, Mr Sahoo asked him: “Aito bhoy kaino? Vote nei? (Why are you scared? Would you not be voting for the CPI-M?”
Scorching heat did not deter Mr Sahoo, sweating profusely, from visiting houses and he kept meeting people till 11 a.m. The group of about 45 people dispersed after a cup of tea in a para tea stall. When Mr Sahoo was meeting people door-to-door, Mr Paresh Pal, the Trinamul Congress candidate from Beleghata, was holding a road-show with actors Zeenat Aman and Asrani with him.