The Telegraph
Sunday , March 30 , 2014
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Bappi crowd irks rival

March 29: Kalyan Banerjee, the Trinamul candidate for Serampore Lok Sabha seat, today accused his BJP rival Bappi Lahiri of breaking the model code of conduct by stalling traffic during a road show using “400 to 500 four-wheelers and 200 motorbikes”.

“I am astonished that the administration has been a mute spectator even as Bappi Lahiri stalls traffic by organising road shows in Serampore. It appears the administration is working at the BJP’s behest,” Banerjee said.

Kalyan alleged that Bappi had been creating “chaos” in Serampore since March 27 by “bringing in a large number of cars and motorbikes from Calcutta”.

“My question is, why are the police not acting against Bappi Lahiri although he is stalling traffic for hours?” he asked.

Asked if he was also targeting Mamata Banerjee, who is at the helm of the administration, Kalyan shot back: “No, I am referring to the Election Commission, under which the administration works once the model code of conduct kicks in. Where are the EC observers?”

He said Trinamul had lodged two complaints with the commission against Bappi.

Bappi said his “fans” had come in cars and bikes. “I did not bring my cars from Mumbai. My fans brought them from Calcutta to join my road show. Is it my fault if they join me?”

Although the music composer is a political greenhorn, his road shows in the past three days have been drawing 15,000 to 20,000 people on an average.

Kalyan, 57, had won from Serampore in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls by a margin of over 1.67 lakh votes. Although the BJP had polled only 38,476 votes, Trinamul leaders said they fear Bappi could get more this time, which could become the deciding factor in a four-cornered fight.

Asked if he was worried about his poll prospects, Kalyan said: “I don’t think those who lined the roads to have a darshan of the BJP nominee will vote for him.”