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Dev leaves a ‘rare’ taste in mouth

- Actor baulks first but keeps date
Roses gifted by Santosh Rana in his hand, Dev comes out of the CPI leader’s house in Midnapore town on Tuesday. Picture by Samir Mondal

Midnapore, March 25: A bowl of rabri, a cup of tea and a rare gesture of courtesy in Bengal’s boorish political landscape marked Dev’s visit to the house of his CPI rival Santosh Rana late tonight.

“I had said I would go and I kept my word. The visit went off really well. We had tea and rabri and both were really good. We didn’t talk politics. The talk centred around Ghatal and how we can make it one of the best constituencies in Bengal. And to make it the best constituency, we must work together,” the star Trinamul Congress candidate from Ghatal told The Telegraph minutes after leaving Rana’s house, around 11pm.

His political rival seemed almost star-struck in the wake of the Tollywood hero’s home visit. “I salute his gesture, which is so rare in Bengal politics. He is an exception. He has deviated from the culture of Trinamul and also of politics in general and shown exceptional courtesy by coming to our house. I wish him well,” said Rana.

Dev’s decision to call up Rana and fix up a tea tryst for today had not gone down well in local Trinamul circles, with a section describing the gesture as “childish” and opposing the visit.

The section seemed to have prevailed when Dev sent a text message to Rana around 3.50pm today regretting that he would be delayed in his shoot — for the film Yoddha, in Chandrakona — and so would have to postpone his courtesy call.

“Sorry Sir, will b shooting till late… won’t b able to mk it… will surely cm to ur place… give my regards to boudi,” read the text message. This was followed by a call from Dev to Rana along the same lines.

But then, Dev wrapped up his shoot and landed up almost unannounced at Rana’s house in Midnapore town around 10.20pm.

“I had just sat down for dinner when Dev called me to say he was coming. Within two minutes, he was in front of my house,” Rana later said.

In blue tee and jeans, Dev parked his car about 100 metres away on Station Road and walked along a narrow lane to reach Rana’s two-storey house.

Rana barely had time to slip into a shirt when Dev arrived, hands folded in a namaskar, at his door.

“I took him to the first floor where we sat and chatted for over half an hour. I told him how much I appreciated that he was exhorting the youth and the electorate to cast their vote without once telling them to vote for him. That shows he is different,” said Rana.

According to wife Bharati, Dev came across as a humble and well-behaved young man rather than a star or a politician. “I told him that I really liked his Chander Pahar and he invited me to his ongoing shoot in Chandrakona,” she smiled.

By the time Dev had finished his tea diplomacy, the word of his rare gesture had spread and around 400 people had clogged the narrow lane in front of Rana’s house. The policemen had a tough time escorting the screen darling to his car.

On his cellphone from his SUV, Dev said: “My aim is to spread love. I am where I am because of the love of the common people. I want to do something for this constituency and the common people here. And for that I need the good wishes and support of everyone.”