Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Train card up TMC sleeve

The badges were handed over to the Trinamul supporters at railway stations in north Bengal on Friday

By Kousik Sen in Raiganj
  • Published 21.07.19, 2:01 AM
  • Updated 21.07.19, 2:01 AM
  • a min read
  •  
A Trinamul supporter with the card in his pocket on Friday. (Kousik Sen)

The “Ekushe July” cards are not merely a badge of honour for Trinamul supporters — they are replacements for train tickets too.

Many Trinamul supporters travelling to Calcutta for the rally by train from North Dinajpur and other north Bengal districts did not bother to book tickets, with the guardians of the railways pleading helplessness because of the possibility of protests and the disparity between the number of such passengers and guards and other staff.

The badges were handed over to the Trinamul supporters at railway stations in north Bengal on Friday.

“Onno shomoye train-e gele ticket kati. Kintu Ekushe July er shobhay amra ebhabei jai (At other times, we do buy tickets to travel by train. But for the July 21 meeting, we travel like this),” said Rafikul Islam, a young Trinamul supporter, before boarding the Radhikapur-Kolkata Express from Raiganj.

“For many years, we have not been buying tickets to travel to Calcutta for the rally…. So far, we have not faced any problem,” said Mahesh Das, another supporter.

Many Trinamul supporters claimed local leaders had told them to show the badge if asked for tickets.

None from the Railway Protection Force or the railway staff tried to stop the Trinamul supporters from boarding the trains. “They are in hundreds and we have only a few people posted at the station. They might organise protests. We are helpless,” said a source in the railways.

Trinamul leaders denied that they had asked party supporters to use the badges as a right of way. The leaders said the supporters had been asked to buy tickets.