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Friday , May 20 , 2011
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City to ‘live’ the moment

Mamata Banerjee will be in Raj Bhavan on Friday afternoon, but she’ll also be in your para, thanks to her supporters.

As their party chief prepared to take on the chief minister’s mantle, the workers were busy hiring loudspeakers and LCD TVs. Come Friday, there will scarcely be any street-corner where the Mamata moment will not be beamed live.

“Didi wants her swearing-in to be shown and heard live at all localities,” said Subir Saha, a Trinamul worker on Amherst Street. “We have put up 15 loudpeakers, two LCD TVs and made temporary sheds for large gatherings in our para.”

“After the swearing-in, we will distribute rosogolla and paan to every local resident,” said Saurav Jana of Haridevpur.

Trinamul sources said the focus on paras was deliberate — to keep over-enthusiastic supporters from spilling over to the Raj Bhavan area.

“Each supporter had been trying his best to be as close to Raj Bhavan as possible during the swearing-in,” said a Trinamul leader. “That would have created chaos. We did not want that,” said a senior leader.

The surge in demand for LCDs and loudspeakers are keeping decorators busy — and happy.

“Since Sunday, there has been a great demand for loudspeakers and sound systems. From Sunday, I have taken orders for around 600 loudspeakers,” said Asish Dey, a Tollygunge-based decorator.

“Since morning, I have received orders for 35 LCDs and I hope to get a few more by tomorrow,” said Kaushik Roy of Chandni Chowk, who has been leasing out the TVs for Rs 1200, Rs 200 more than the usual rate.

Most people appeared touched by Trinamul’s gesture. “The supporters have spared us noisy celebrations after the win,” said Saugata Paul, a hardware engineer from Behala.

“Friday’s arrangement,” Paul added, “is more like what we had witnessed during the World Cup finals. I am really excited.”

Pass frenzy peaks

The telephone in the usually relaxed third-floor office of the information and cultural affairs department in Writers’ Buildings has been ringing incessantly since Tuesday.

There’s just one question on everyone’s lips: “Are any passes available for Friday’s oath-taking ceremony?”

Officials of the department are at their wit’s end. “Don’t they understand that we can send the passes only to those named in the list provided to us? Nobody seems to understand,” said an exasperated upper division clerk.

People are calling up friends, businessmen and even politicians to gain entry into Raj Bhavan on Friday at 1.01pm.

Trinamul leader Madan Mitra told Metro that requests for passes were flowing into Harish Chatterjee Street too. “This is history in the making. Everybody wants to be a part of it,” he said.

A businessman from south Calcutta even offered money to a Trinamul MLA for a pass. “I told him it was strictly by invitation,” the MLA smiled.

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