Bridges keep BJP and Trinamul apart
Borodoba, an otherwise nondescript village in the Falakata block of Alipurduar district, has emerged as a unique but stark example of political division.
Supporters of the Trinamul Congress and the BJP who otherwise live peacefully with each other use different “shanko” or bamboo walk bridges when it comes to crossing the Mujnai, a stream that skirts the village.
The reason: one of the walk bridges, that is around 120 metres long, has been built by the BJP and has been named as “Modir Setu” (Modi’s bridge) while the other of a similar length that lies parallel to it, is known as “Didir Setu (Didi’s bridge) as it has been built by Trinamul supporters.
Locals mentioned that for years now, they had been demanding a permanent bridge over the stream but the state is yet to come up with the structure that can connect Borodoba village with other parts of Falakata block. Around 7,000 people reside in the village that is 46km from the district headquarter.
“Usually, we trudge through knee deep water to cross the stream. During monsoon months, we had to stay back at home unless the water levels recede,” said a villager.
Last month, the local BJP workers took the initiative to build a bamboo bridge so that people can cross the stream by foot and even on two wheelers. They named it as “Modir Setu” after the Prime Minister’s name.
“On one hand, BJP tried to reach out to the villagers by providing a sort of temporary connectivity to the other hand. On the other hand, they tried to prove that despite being in power for about a decade now, Trinamul has not taken any step to build a bridge that can connect the village,” said a senior political leader in Falakata.
As the bridge was opened, the villagers started using it. Every day, around 2,000 people of Borodoba that is under Guabarnagar panchayat of Falakata block, cross the stream to go to other places.
However, after a day or two, the Trinamul workers who are active in the village had to face scoffs from the BJP supporters.
“They started passing remarks at us, saying that we are using a bridge that has been made by BJP and also questioned as why we could not get a bridge for the village,” a Trinamul supporter said.
This left them disappointed and within a gap of seven days, the Trinamul supporters decided to build a parallel bridge 30 feet apart from the other bridge.
The new bridge – a similar structure like the other one – was named as “Didir Setu”, as chief minister Mamata Banerjee is popularly known.
It created an additional option for common villagers who can use either of the bridges now.
“However, ardent party followers, whether of BJP or Trinamul, do not step into the bridge made by the other party. It is an interesting situation our here in our village,” said a resident.
Ranjit Burman, a district committee member of BJP who is from the village, said the Trinamul government has simply neglected their demand for a bridge because out of the three panchayat seats of the village, two have been won by BJP.
“The ruling party has intentionally remained silent about the demand. Seeing peoples’ inconveniences, we have taken the task to build a temporary bridge,” said Burman.
Subhash Roy, the Falakata block president of Trinamul who is also from the village, however, has accused BJP of resorting to cheap politics. “The manner in which they used to pass comments at our men for using the temporary bridge indicates their narrow mind set. That is why we came up with the second bridge. Also, a proposal has already been sent to the north Bengal development for construction of a concrete bridge on Mujnai. We hope it will be approved soon,” the Trinamul leader said.