Elections 2021

Modi leads BJP’s full backing of Swapan Dasgupta in Tarakeshwar

Abhishek Law Tarakeshwar (Hooghly) | Updated on April 03, 2021

PM Modi interacts with party candidate Swapan Dasgupta (L) during an election rally   -  Swapan Mahapatra

Prime Minister Narendra Modi threw his might behind Swapan Dasgupta, a quintessential Bengali bhadralok of the BJP and the party candidate for the temple-town of Tarakeshwar in Hooghly.

In a party that struggled to bring on board intellectuals and urban elite in large numbers, Dasgupta’s foray into electoral politics — after quitting the Rajya Sabha — and that too from a predominantly rural constituency, had raised eyebrows. Nearly 89 per cent of the constituency is rural.

PM’s Bengal man

As Dasgupta shared the dais with the Prime Minister, along with other candidates like Locket Chatterjee, it was obvious that he was the PM’s man here in Bengal.

If there was any doubt, it was laid to rest with the Prime Minister spending substantial time talking on development issues, farmers’ welfare, setting up of cold storages, speaking about the jute industry and bringing up the issue of subsidised health schemes to woo the rural populace of Tarakeshwar and nearby areas.

Modi’s omnipresence

Incidentally, the former Rajya Sabha MP did not have a soft landing in Tarakeshwar. He had to face some resistance which his party subsequently ironed-out.

That the party and the Prime Minister are backing Dasgupta to the hilt is obvious across villages. Hoardings bear only two faces: that of Modi and Dasgupta; and all poll graffiti is “development-issue oriented”.

Cut-outs of other major leaders like JP Nadda or Amit Shah, normally present elsewhere, are nowhere to be seen. The BJP also brought in its star campaigner, actor-turned BJP leader, Mithun Chakraborty to campaign in the areas.

“We have met the candidate (Dasgupta); and we saw Modiji backing him. I will have confidence in the candidate who the PM is backing. We do the same when we trusted Didi in 2011,” says Joyprakash Sarkar, a grocery shop owner in one of the villages where Dasgupta finished his campaigning recently.

Campaign style

Dasgupta, mostly dressed in a kurta and pyjama, has been walking along the muddy fields, lanes and bylanes of his constituency.

In some cases he has been taking an e-rickshaw to increase reach with the localites. His mingling with the locals has seen them vouch for his “Bangaliana” (Bengaliness).

The discontent against the Trinamool is not very evident. But can be sensed. “Mamata improved roads here, brought in welfare schemes. Allowed setting up of subsidised toilets. The Left ignored development completely,” said a septuagenarian who deals in raw jute in the suburbs of Hooghly.

Published on April 03, 2021

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