Singur: The Sangjukto Morcha’s candidate from Singur in West Bengal, Srijan Bhattacharya is just 27 years old, however, the young turk is already a veteran at leading people’s struggles as the state secretary of the Students’ Federation of India and part of the Nabanna movement.
The Singur Assembly constituency from where Srijan is contesting has its own place in the political history of West Bengal. Following the forced abandonment of the Tata plant despite completion of 80% of the project and the resultant desolation, the region has been seething with anger.
However, the constituency is not limited to the project areas like Beraberi and Gopalnagar and includes areas like Bora, Borai and Bara Kamalapur panchayats which have a rich history of the Tebhaga movement. For several of these undeveloped areas, the Tata Nano factory had come as a hope of better economic gain amid a predominantly agrarian area.
Meanwhile, the urban setting of Singur 1 and 2 panchayat are different from the other area, which has people belonging to predominantly lower or lower middle income groups. The land of Kartick Dhara and Guiram Mondal, who were martyrs during Tebhaga in 1948, Bara Kamalapur is one such area.
According to Shantiram Das, a resident of this area, the famous Bengali writer Manik Bandhyapadhaya penned his novel Choto Bakulpurer Jatri based on Boroi Kamalapur.
Diptesh Mukherjee, a youth accompanying Srijan’s campaign team, told NewsClick, “Wherever we have been travelling (for campaign), Srijan’s popularity among the people, particularly among those in 18-40 age bracket is palpable from the crowds.”
“Everything that happened in the past is bygone now. What we want now is a hope of a new future and Srijan represents that hope for us,” said Atasi Manna, a mother of two whose younger child was playing on her lap.
In all of the six panchayat areas that NewsClick visited, including Bora, Boroi, Bara Kamalapur Madhyapara, Bara Kamalapur Purba Para, Bara Kamalapur Paschim Para and Ramnagar Tentultala Panchayat, Srijan’s rallies witnessed a deluge of supporters.
Srijan’s campaign is incredibly different from the other candidates in the fray. He is strictly staying from any kind of politics of hate, a fact represented by the respect displayed by the Sangjukto Morcha candidate for his political opponent, the 89-year-old teacher and former minister Rabindranath Bhattacharya who is fighting on a BJP ticket.
The BJP candidate had changed sides from the Trinamool Congress after the ruling party decided to field minister Becharam Manna from Singur instead of the incumbent MLA Rabindranath Bhattacharya.
The young candidate from CPI(M) has not engaged in any negative speech against Manna as well, instead urging everyone to work towards a result that would be beneficial for the people of Singur.
Not only that, Srijan’s campaign is unique in terms of the wall graffiti and the flexes too, which seem to be outshining those of other candidates. According to Diptesh, a member of SFI and a theatre buff, the impact of the SM candidate’s charismatic persona is visible from the number of people wanting to click a photo with the candidate. “The body language of Srijan’s supporters displays the exuberance that he inspires among the people wherever he goes for campaign,” Diptesh said.
As people showered flower petals on the candidate and requested him for a photograph, Srijan could be seen obliging everyone’s request with a smiling face. With his well-articulated arguments and promise of industrialisation, the candidate has garnered immense popularity even before the elections are over.
Meanwhile, in Chanditala, the Election Commission has issued a showcause notice to the BJP candidate after he engaged in hate speech against the Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate from the constituency, MD Salim.