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‘Remember me as a person not as a face on the wall’

KOLKATA, 20 APRIL: Straight from political science class to political battleground: That’s Mrs Koninika Ghosh, the CPI-M candidate from Belgachia-Cossipore constituency, for you.
A former student of Jaipuria College and now a teacher of politics in Beliaghata Deshbandhu Girls’ High School, she loathes roadshows, glitz and glamour. Her poll formula has been to meet and get acquainted with as many people in her constituency as possible.
“I want them to remember me as a person they met when they think of me, not as a cut-out or a face in a banner or bunting,” she says. And so, for the past 15 days she has been making a door-to-door visit in her locality and also meeting people at para gatherings and tea stalls.
A small bunch of CPI-M sympathisers gathered in front of the party office in Umakanta Sen Lane, Northern Avenue, at 8 a.m. sharp. Led by a rickshaw decorated tastefully with party flags and a supporter holding a loudspeaker announcing her visit, the entourage wended its way from lane to lane.
Curious faces emerged from balconies above and windows below. Some hurriedly put their clothes on and rushed to open the door. “Kasta Haturi… Shantir jonno, Unnayan er jonno (Sickle hammer, for development and peace),” is all that Mrs Ghosh says. And, if the voter is young, the slogan changes to “egiye jawar jonno (for progress)”.
The people cannot help but smile and nod. Some go on to assure, “Ama ke na bolleo hobe…ami ki tomay chini na (you need not tell me… do I not know you)?
While elderly people said, “ashirbad korchi joyi hou (bless you for your victory)”, others said: “Nishchinto thako (don’t worry)”. Some even offered advice: “Everybody will vote for you here, no need to waste time. Meet people who don’t know you.”
From 8 am till 10.30 am Mrs Ghosh visited more than 50 houses in the locality bidding office-goers and school students goodbye. “Morning is a good time for campaigning as people are in their homes,” she says. In a span of 15 days, she claims to have had a one-to-one interaction with most of the 2,12,000 voters in her constituency.
At the fag end of the journey at 11.30 am, some supporters try to take her towards a narrow lane just behind a Trinamul Congress office. She staggers and asks: “Trinamul er office eo bolte jachhi naki (are we going to Trinamul office as well)?” All laugh and proceed towards the houses in the lane. On her way, a woman comes complaining about her ration card. Mrs Ghosh tells her to come to the party office where she would do the needful. “People mostly complain about civic amenities. After Trinamul formed the municipal board, the facilities get interrupted every now and then,” she said.
She feels “pariborton er hawa’’ is being blown up by the media. “The word is being used as a marketing strategy. People are wise enough to chose what is best for them,” she said, sure of her victory against the Trinamul Congress sitting MLA, Mrs Mala Saha.

Soma Basu

Soma Basu

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