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‘Modi Modi’ chants resonate in BJP office

Even at a searing 40 degrees, the street was where the party workers chose to be on Thursday morning

By Aditya Nag in Calcutta
  • Published 24.05.19, 3:03 AM
  • Updated 24.05.19, 3:03 AM
  • 2 mins read
BJP supporters assemble on a street in Calcutta on Thursday to celebrate the victory. (Pradip Sanyal)

The BJP’s stark rise in Bengal found fitting expression in the gritty bylane of 6 Muralidhar Sen Lane here on Thursday as the modest trappings of the two-storey party office were drowned out by celebrations in tandem with the day’s climbing numbers.

While most parts of south and central Calcutta were quiet on Thursday morning, drivers moving north around 10am could easily hear “Modi, Modi” as soon as they turned past the Central Metro station.

Inside the party office lane — 100m long and wide enough for a single car — the normally sedate university area was being rent with cries of “Har Har Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi” in anticipation of higher numbers.

Media folk and neighbourhood onlookers watched with bemused smiles from the pavements, as saffron-clad BJP workers took over the streets in dancing formations.

Even at a searing 40 degrees Celsius, the street was where the BJP workers chose to be on Thursday morning.

“I live in this neighbourhood, and I am with this party now. I used to vote for the CPM until 2014. but I shifted my affiliation after that. For the past two years, my name has been taken off the voter list. Tactics like these repel us from Trinamul,” said 65-year-old Shib Arya, clad in a baggy cap and orange tee.

By noon, all but a dancing party had formed on the south-bound flank of Central Avenue. Heralded by a moving music machine — a BJP vehicle blaring Babul Supriyo’s controversial anti-Trinamul anthem out the back — saffron-clad youth, children, women, and men danced in shrill jubilation while a few bemused onlookers and a couple of helpless traffic policemen watched. Favourable passers-by stopped to smile at the scene, with many posing for a picture with makeshift Modis and to cry a token “Jai Sri Ram” at passing vehicles.

It was notable that hardly any words, much less actions, of protest came either from onlookers or policemen at the celebrators’ bare affronts.

“I have been seeing what Modiji has done for this country over the past five years. Nine crore toilets for the rural poor, the Mudra Yojna loan scheme for the youth, and the Ayushman Bharath Scheme,” said a jubilant Ayush Arya, a 22-year-old BJP youth worker and final-year MBBS student at Calcutta Medical College.

“While I am impressed by all that, I am also repelled by Trinamul’s games. For example, Mamata stalled the Ayushman Bharat scheme in Bengal merely because the cards had Modi’s picture. These tactics repel the youths,” he added.

“This is a sign of Bengal’s awakening. Modi is the only one who can take India forward in the world, and it is time Bengal realised that as well,” said a passerby leaning out of his moving car for a picture with the BJP flag.

The fun was halted around 12.30pm when it was seen that the procession had disrupted an ambulance barrelling down for a good 15 minutes.

Just then, a senior BJP worker — distinguished by his long tricolour stole — led the procession back into base, saying: “Let’s leave it for 4pm.”

Until then, he had been barging onto minibuses with news cameras in tow, shovelling gulab jamuns into the mouths of gaping passengers.