When Mamata went wrong on Tagore (Poll Prattle)

May 9th, 2009 - 7:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) Every true blue Bengali loves to talk of Nobel-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore. And so did Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, except that she went wrong on a fact - to the delight of the Communists.
Speaking during a TV interview, Banerjee reportedly said Tagore had offered a glass of juice to Mahatma Gandhi to help him break a fast that he had undertaken to stop communal riots in Kolkata after India’s partition in 1947.

But fact is that Tagore died in 1941 - six years before partition.

No sooner had Banerjee made the faux pax than Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leaders made sure it did not escape public notice, especially in poll season.

In newspaper articles, press meets and public speeches, Marxist leaders have been bringing up the matter and asking people whether they could prosper under such a leader who went wrong on Tagore!

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Trinamool’s ‘fan’ following

With Kolkata under a prolonged heat spell, the Trinamool Congress has come up with a breezy way to reach out to voters - palm leaf fans!

West Bengal’s main opposition party has been distributing small hand-held fans made of palm leaves that are a handy tool to bring relief from the heat and oppressive humidity.

It goes without saying that the fans, which are gaining in popularity, have the Trinamool election symbol - “twin flowers” - embossed on one side. Kolkata goes to polls in the last phase of parliamentary elections May 13.

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‘Dhumal’s P. Ltd Company’

With several members of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal’s family being important faces of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress has raised the battle cry of dynastic politics.

Five-time former Congress chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who is contesting the polls from Mandi, never forgets to tell voters that “it (the government) is Dhumal’s P. Ltd Company.” The emphasis here is on the letter ‘P’.

“Dhumal is ‘pita’ (father), his MP son and Hamirpur Lok Sabha candidate Anurag Thakur ‘putra’ (son) and Anurag’s father-in-law and cabinet minister Gulab Singh Thakur ‘papa’,” says Virbhadra Singh at his election rallies.

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Fake the mark, say youngsters who couldn’t vote

Indelible ink on the index finger bestows a sense of empowerment, many say. So not wanting to be left out, some Delhi youngsters who couldn’t cast their votes decided to put black marks on their fingers anyway!

Sharmishtha Ghosh, a Delhi university student, for instance, was one of three friends who “faked” the ink mark - with a black sketch pen - as they wanted to flaunt their finger like the real voter.

“I am an outstation student and have my name on the electoral list back home in Kolkata. Since my exams are on, I couldn’t go back to vote, neither could I do it here,” Ghosh said.

“But when I saw the rest of my Delhi friends showing off their inked fingers, I felt really left out,” Ghosh said. “So they just put a tiny black mark on my index finger - making me feel ‘part’ of the group!” she laughed.

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Some rest after campaign drill

After a two-month-long gruelling campaign, most poll managers of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress candidates in Delhi Friday switched off their cell phones, took time off from work and rested at home.

Some even took off for cooler climes.

Voting took place in the capital Thursday. Counting of votes is scheduled to take place May 16, which gives them ample time to steal a break after their hectic campaigns.

As Delhi is the national capital, the spotlight on candidates here is generally much more compared to smaller towns and thus calls for expert handling of the media.

The campaign in Delhi witnessed intense use of technology, with several candidates launching their websites and their campaign in virtual space. And working round the clock for these were the poll managers.

-Indo-Asian News Service

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