The Telegraph
Thursday , May 1 , 2014
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Clockwork Keshto stays a step ahead

April 30: Mamata Banerjee’s man for all seasons, Anubrata Mondal, today proved why she considers him a “good organiser”.

In Birbhum district, the Trinamul’s machinery worked while the CPM’s didn’t, workers of the ruling party said. The Left party has demanded repolling in 348 booths of the two constituencies in the district.

“The CPM can demand anything…. There was no large-scale violence in the entire area. Actually, the CPM could not make its machinery work while Keshtoda’s (as Mondal is fondly known) technique worked beautifully,” said a close aide of Mondal, described by Mamata as “khub bhalo chele (very good boy)”.

Trinamul insiders said the Birbhum party chief had planned everything three days ago. “He held a meeting with all block presidents on Sunday in the Bolpur party office. All leaders were briefed about duties,” a party leader said.

The plan was so elaborate that the block presidents had to only follow instructions.

“For example, the Illambazar block president was told that there were at least 40-45 booths in his area where the party could face resistance. He was told to ensure that Trinamul supporters cast their votes in the first two-three hours. It was a block-by-block plan,” said a Trinamul leader who was present in the meeting held on Sunday.

The “homework” done, Mondal seemed relaxed through the day.

He came out of his house at Nichupatti in Bolpur town around 10am and visited the Trinamul office a few metres away.

The first thing he did, sources said, was call up block presidents to inquire about the progress of the polling.

“Ask everybody to ensure that they (Trinamul supporters) all cast their votes at the earliest. If anybody is left to do that, send somebody to take him to the booth,” Mondal was heard instructing over the phone several times.

After that, it was the turn to call up select panchayat leaders. “Just follow the instructions,” Mondal yelled.

Close aides of the Birbhum Trinamul chief said he knew all eyes would be on him on the polling day. “So he had completed the homework a few days ahead,” an aide said.

The “homework” was evident in Nanoor, Bolpur town, Ausgram — places considered troublesome by police because of the ruling party’s internal friction.

The CPM’s Bolpur candidate and sitting MP, Ramachandra Dome, alleged: “In several booths in these places, our polling agents could not enter the booths. Trinamul managed false voting throughout the day.”

Denying the allegation of rigging, a Trinamul leader in Bolpur town said: “We just ensured that our voters turned up in large numbers.” “The CPM is simply jealous of Keshto’s organisational skills,” he added.

Mondal was seen smiling in the party office when Sudhir Kumar Rakesh, the special observer for Bengal, appeared on television.

“What had he said? He has the correct medicine for me… He didn’t know that here, in this place of Tagore, rigging does not take place,” the leader smiled.

Asked about Mondal and Birbhum Trinamul MLA Manirul Islam, both of whom were show-caused by the Election Commission, Rakesh had said on April 22: “The commission has all the correct medicines.”

The poll observer had followed it up with “be ready for surprises” three days later.

After lunch in the party office around 1.30pm today, Mondal again started calling up Trinamul leaders.

By that time, the TV was flashing that the CPM has demanded re-polling in 343 booths.

“The party has lost its base…. Was there any murder or attack on the CPM?” he smiled again.