Bankura, April 16: Go ahead, make my day.
Buddhadeb Dana, a vegetable seller in Lalbajar, didn’t quite say that to Moon Moon Sen at high noon but she did make his day.
The busy thoroughfare in Bankura, lined with shops, came to a standstill for an hour as the kilometre-long cavalcade with Moon Moon and daughters Raima and Riya atop an open jeep ruled the road.
But shopkeepers like Dana were not complaining. “There were no customers for an hour, but that was not a problem, given our excitement at seeing Moon Moon Sen, Raima Sen and Riya Sen up close. It feels great that a film star is contesting the polls from a place like Bankura. Watching Moon Moon Sen and her daughters was a great break from our daily routine,” said the 42-year-old.
The star procession led to the office of the district magistrate where Moon Moon filed her nomination papers.
“It was a very serious affair but I’m also feeling very happy that now we can begin work more intensely,” smiled Moon Moon after signing the papers that pit her against CPM veteran Basudeb Acharia, and taking her oath with her daughters and husband Bharat Dev Varma by her side.
The Sen sisters were upbeat about the welcome they received from starry eyed residents of Bankura.
“I’ve been at events in villages in Bengal but never seen such a crowd,” said a startled Riya. “Me neither,” agreed elder sibling Raima.
“I’ve never seen such a huge crowd in a road procession. People were so happy to just see us waving at them that the heat or the crowd frenzy did not matter anymore. It was so overwhelming that I didn’t realise how four hours just flew by. Some even handed me chits that had ‘Apnarai jitben (you will win)’ scribbled on them!” Raima added.
Both sisters were “surprised and excited” about seeing their mother in her new role. “We are also getting to experience what this life is all about with her,” Raima said. Riya took it one step forward: “She’s always been a people’s person and I think she was meant for this. Just surprised that it happened so suddenly but I think it’s the right time.”
Evening spelt some relief from the heat and dust after a brief spell of rain and thunder as the Sens headed for Tatkalaly, 8km into the interiors of Bankura, where they addressed a gathering of thousands.
Raima took the mic first and said: “We’ve come with Ma to help her, support her and ask you to cast your votes in Ma’s favour. Riya greeted everyone a “Shubho nababarsho” before telling the crowd: “You are all extremely gentle and sweet. We want to keep coming back here and work for you. Please vote for Ma.”
Moon Moon then took centre stage. “It’s a big day for me because I signed up today officially as a Trinamul candidate. I want to work for all of you, so please cast your vote for me so that I can keep coming back. And I would like to invite members of the other parties to join us as brothers. There should only be one party here and that’s Trinamul,” smiled Moon Moon.