PC Sorcar and Bappi Lahiri on the dais. (Pradip Sanyal)
Modi magic took a literal turn on the dais at the Brigade Parade Ground on Thursday, in the form of P.C. Sorcar Junior.
The magician — quick to clarify that he has “not joined” the BJP — counts many top leaders of the Left Front among his close acquaintances. His eldest daughter Maneka’s father-in-law is a Trinamul Congress MP. But his first Brigade outing was paved in saffron. All to take a closer look at the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
That he sure did, hardly five seats away from Narendra Modi on the dais, as the surprise celebrity guest of the afternoon.
“That the names of Netaji and Swami Vivekananda are attached to the BJP had a hypnotic effect on me. But pamphlets can’t be trusted. I study the body language of leaders to deduce if they can be trusted. Modiji comes from a poor family. It speaks volumes of our democracy that he can eye the country’s top seat now. I wanted to see how genuine he is. As a citizen, I’d like to be informed about my choices,” Sorcar told Metro.
This is not the first time that Sorcar has gone up close to study a political leader. “I had travelled to Purulia to see Mrs (Indira) Gandhi when her name came up for the first time for the Prime Minister’s post.... When she was arguing with officials about the lack of water in the drought-ridden area, rumours were spread that she was having rosogolla inside! So it helps to know the truth,” smiled Sorcar.
But why didn’t he make Modi’s stage his own for a bit? “They asked me to speak but I refused. They even announced on stage, ‘Congress ko gaayab kar dijiye”, but I declined their offer to show a few tricks. I cannot belittle the craft....”
But he sure seemed impressed by Modi’s political craft. “He seems to be have become more responsible, the way he made promises for Bengal.... And he sees Mamata like an elder brother, who may scold but never harm her.”
Rajnath Singh addressing him as “Dr Sorcar” also impressed the magician. “Few know about it (his PhD in applied psychology). But they have done their homework.”
Sorcar’s Brigade partner and new BJP member Bappi Lahiri had also done his homework. In his trademark dark glasses and gold chains, Lahiri let rip his Tollywood superhit number: Chiradini tumi je amar.... BJP we all love you... BJP ke aamra bhalobashi, bhalobashi, bhalobashi...”
Sorcar, who sat next to Lahiri, said: “He may be from Mumbai but he is a Bengali — ghorer chhele. So it made sense for him to be here.”
Won’t he go the Bappi Lahiri way and sign up? “If I am needed for my country, I will be there,” said Sorcar, choosing the mundane over the magical.
But there was no hiding his disillusionment with the present political dispensation in Bengal. “It is true that Mamata did nothing, neither did the Congress,” he said, referring to the centenary of his father, PC Sorcar Senior.
And what does the man who Mamata fondly called “Pradipda” when she was rail minister think of her as chief minister? “Narkel ta bhalo, chhobra gulo kono karmer na (She is good but her hangers-on are good for nothing),” summed up Sorcar. Ouch!