Mamata Banerjee assembled her poll team for an induction session at 30B Harish Chatterjee Street on Friday, taking care to break the barrier between the rookies and the battle-hardened pros and spelling out what’s required of them for Mission 42.
“Amader ke 42-ta seat-e jitte hobe (We will have to win all 42 seats),” the chief minister declared, setting the agenda for the nearly two hour session.
A set of tips followed, ranging from waking up early to keeping a cool head on the campaign trail.
Barring Tolly star Dev, who was shooting in Hyderabad, and historian Sugata Bose, away in Delhi, Mamata’s handpicked team for the elections was in full attendance along with party heads from all the districts and some senior leaders, including ministers.
The chief minister described her choice of candidates as “a good combination”, never mind the murmurs of discontent within the party over the inclusion of “outsiders”. She had said while announcing the candidates’ list on Wednesday that she wanted people from different walks of life to represent Bengal in the Lok Sabha.
Team Trinamul includes 10 names from the world of art and culture and sports, 11 women, seven candidates representing minority communities and 12 from the backward classes.
If holding the induction session at her residence was meant to provide a homely ambience, Mamata played more the mentor than the hard taskmaster.
The chief minister took it upon herself to introduce the 18 first-timers to the district party presidents and observers, prodding them to exchange phone numbers and stay in touch.
The message to the candidates was: star campaigners draw the crowds but inputs from local political leaders are just as important to make a poll campaign successful.
“Didi drilled into the candidates the need to work in tandem with the district leadership. Several of them have no political experience and so need guidance at every step,” said a senior Trinamul leader who attended the meeting.
Metro lists the chief minister’s Ten Commandments for the candidates and her tips on personal conduct.
• Study the successes of the government. A booklet detailing these will be distributed.
• Information on schemes like Kanyashree, 100 days’ work guarantee and Jal Dharo Jal Bharo should be on your fingertips.
• Arm yourself with thorough knowledge on the model code of conduct and other guidelines of the Election Commission so that there is no violation.
• Before filing nomination, all new candidates must get party membership.
• Talk to the district leadership to get a clear idea about the constituency, the party’s strengths and weaknesses.
• Candidates must not say or do anything that will sully the party’s image.
• Don’t make controversial statements before the media.
• Candidates have to attend workers’ conferences in their respective districts.
• Don’t use mikes when Madhyamik and other board examinations are on.
• Celebrity candidates need to campaign in other constituencies after polling is over in their seats.
• Start your day early, wrap up campaign by 11am. Resume campaigning after 4pm.
• Be cordial, reach out to the maximum number of voters.
• Celebrity candidates, be yourself.
• Keep a cool head during the campaign, even while facing adverse comments from the Opposition.
MISSION 42 STARTS WITH INDUCTION OVER TEA AND CAKE AT CHIEF MINISTER’S HOUSE
Team Trinamul for Lok Sabha 2014 sat through a poll class conducted by Mamata Banerjee at her Kalighat home on Friday afternoon over tea and oven-fresh cake.
The first-timers, who were asked to sign the party membership form, submit their documents and pick up a printed “code of conduct” each, came out smiling and carrying
green goodie bags containing snacks. Metro caught up with the celeb gang to ask what else they were taking away from the two-hour session
Text by Mohua Das, pictures by Pradip Sanyal