The Telegraph
Saturday , April 5 , 2014
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Plea for votes at shradh

Raiganj, April 4: DMK chief Karunanidhi’s rebel son M.K. Alagiri had used a child’s birthday to campaign for the Lok Sabha election last month. In Raiganj today, Satya Ranjan Das Munshi of Trinamul took it to a new level.

The Raiganj Trinamul candidate today went to a shradh, offered condolences to the bereaved family and sought their vote for the Lok Sabha election.

Satya Ranjan, who is ailing Congress leader Priya Ranjan Das Munshi’s brother, got off his vehicle when he spotted a crowd of about 90 people beside a pond on the outskirts of Raiganj at noon. He found out that the last rites of an adivasi were being held there.

“I am the Trinamul candidate and I want your vote. I will fulfil all your needs. Please accept my condolences,” Satya Ranjan told the family before leaving.

On March 23, the birthday and ear-piercing ceremony of the daughter of Tamilselvakumar, a die-hard Alagiri loyalist near Madurai in Tamil Nadu, was converted into a political platform from where the shunned son attacked those conspiring against him.

In Raiganj, Ramesh Soren, a villager present at the shradh, wondered to what extent candidates could go to seek votes.

“When there is a death in our village, all of us assemble to offer puja for the departed soul. When the candidate got off the car, we thought that he would join in the rituals. But he left after seeking our votes. Politics can make people do strange things.”

Mohammad Salim of the Left Front and Nimu Bhowmick of the BJP, two others in the fray in Raiganj, are also leaving no stone unturned to garner maximum votes.

Nowadays, Salim goes to the Raiganj railway station not only for his regular morning walks but also for interactions with voters.

“I am a regular morning walker and like the station area as it is a large open space. I get to meet new faces every day and it is nice talking to them and hearing their views on various matters,” said Salim.

For Bhowmick, who had left for higher studies in Calcutta after his schooling in Raiganj, the campaign is an opportunity to visit his old haunts.

“I have fond memories of Raiganj and I am happy to be back at home. I love speaking to people and hear their views on the polls,” he said.

During the campaign, Deepa attends the meetings and rallies. However, on March 20, while she was waiting in her car at Siliguri More here, she got off when she saw passing college students. She shook hands with them and an 11-year-old boy. “I don’t believe in doing anything different to get votes. I exchanged pleasantries while waiting at Siliguri More,” she said.