When netas in West Bengal turn to cyclone relief

Romita Datta
Romita DattaMay 28, 2020 | 11:19

When netas in West Bengal turn to cyclone relief

Be it BJP's Dilip Ghosh’s photo-op posturing in removing trees in a relatively unaffected area, or CPI (M)'s Kanti Ganguly standing like a rock beside the storm-ravaged people, netas are not losing the opportunity.

BJP MP and state president Dilip Ghosh lives in the upmarket locality of Salt Lake, though in a rented house. In keeping with the demography of the area, he jogs in the mornings wearing tracksuits, and breezes past in SUVs. His wardrobe is also changing.

From the trade-mark orange kurta and aligarhi, he now seems more comfortable in T-shirts and sneakers. In between the changes creeping in, Ghosh doesn’t forget to flaunt the fact that he comes from the grassroots and had been a product of farmland, as his family is connected to farming for their livelihood. These reminders are important for rural vote bank. When Ghosh crisscrosses rural Bengal, he is an avatar of traditional Hindutva beliefs, culture and clothing. Donning a kurta-pyjama and the mandatory saffron tilak on the forehead, he talks of decapitating the Opposition’s head by six inches by pumping up his muscles and vocal chords. But when he is in the city, Ghosh tries to be suave. His clothes display the change he’s trying to embrace.


So, after Cyclone Amphan when his locality saw a few trees come down, Ghosh stepped out in sneakers and shorts and his photochromic specs to help the NDRF in clearing the area. It made a nice photo-op and BJP cashed in on by making a short film showing Ghosh clearing tree branches, twigs while the background music — saathi haath barana, Haath barana saathi re, played on. Ghosh’s rescue operation triggered a lot of amusement but it has caught on with the urban voters, who are talking about his good intentions in helping people.

On the other side of the political spectrum, veteran CPI(M) leader Kanti Ganguly is also literally knee-deep in relief and rescue operations in the South 24 Parganas district. In a dhoti folded up to his knees, 70-year-old Kanti Ganguly with a gamchha (towel) tied around his head, had been working tirelessly for the last four days in the Sundarbans. But this is nothing new. He had been with the people during Cyclone Fani and Bulbul. Whenever embankments caved in or breaches appeared on banks, Kanti Ganguly is the first person to hit the spot and stand by people with his team. There are many occasions in the past when the state saw the septuagenarian Left leader doing effective rescue operations, sinking his heels, literally in mud and slush, and helping people to build their homes and the roads.


In a dhoti folded up to his knees, 70-year-old Kanti Ganguly with a gamchha (towel) tied around his head, had been working tirelessly for the last four days in the Sundarbans. (Photo: Facebook/ @cpimcc)

But all said and done and despite Ganguly being a dedicated worker, he lost from his home constituency in the Sundarbans in 2011 to a greenhorn film actress Deboshree Roy, who was fielded by Trinamool Congress. After the poll results were out, even the constituency people were shocked. They felt the loss as a deeply personal one. Many cyclones have crossed through the Sundarbans since then, some furious and some mild, but Ganguly stood like a rock beside the flood-hit or storm-ravaged people, irrespective of whether he was the people’s representative or not. Deboshree was once seen to wet her toes (read stilettos) in one of those flooded days, sunshades and sun-screen in place. There was a huge public outcry against Deboshree and her apathy towards these people. However, in the second term in 2016, she once again scraped through defeating Ganguly. And glamour won over this truly dedicated and devoted political worker.

So Dilip Ghosh’s emergence on the Amphan scenario in a relatively unaffected area and his photo-op posturing, removing tree branches with army men from right to left and left to right, might have raised eyebrows and generated sarcastic laughter, but the daring image he tried to project by actually taking a plunge in the rescue operation and through his fashion statement in black T-shirt and shorts will remain to tickle the public memory for long. And the BJP will ensure the memory is revived from time to time.


(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Last updated: May 28, 2020 | 11:19
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