Bhangar, Jan. 2: Trinamul zilla parishad member Mir Tahir Ali, who had hired bar crooners from Calcutta for the party foundation-day ceremony in Bhangar last night, had thought such a show would make him “popular” before the panchayat polls, a colleague said.
“The bar crooners and the orchestra were brought from Calcutta by Tahir Ali,” the leader said. “The dance was the last item. The programme began with Baul songs.”
Explaining the reason, the leader said: “Tahir was aware that elderly people and children would be present during the first half of the programme but would leave as the night progressed. That is why the programme began at 5pm with Baul songs, followed by speeches by leaders.
“The bar singers came on stage after 10.30pm and started singing Hindi and Bengali pop songs,” he added.
Keeping Tahir company on the dais and swaying with the gyrating bar crooners was party colleague Ausan Ali Mollah, who till last year was the secretary of Bhangar Girls’ High School. Ainul Ali Mollah, the working secretary of the Bhangar unit of Trinamul, showered currency notes on the dancing girls.
“As the night progressed, so did the drinking. The audience and some partymen took part in the drinking session,” the local Trinamul leader said. “Tahir is feared here. He is a local tough. So he was sure he could control the crowd,” he added.
He said Tahir ran a “successful” fishery business in Bhangar. “In Bhangar, as in many parts of the state, one has to be tough to be successful in the trade. Tahir joined Trinamul when it was launched in 1998, switching allegiance from the Congress,” the leader said.
Police said two of the five Trinamul leaders present on the dais when the singing and dancing were going on had criminal records.
Residents, however, said that when the police came to the venue around 11.30pm to stop the programme, Tahir appeared to “panic”.
“Tahir realised that the audience, many of whom were drunk by then, might turn violent if the programme was suddenly stopped,” a Trinamul leader said.
Tahir took the mike and appealed to the people not to break rules. The audience obeyed him, to the relief of other Trinamul leaders present.