The last time such a big event was held at this ground was when then Chief Minister Buddhadeb Chatterjee came after the Dunlop factory was shut down.
On Monday, As per schedule, Shankar Haldar, 25, was waiting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to arrive at Hooghly’s Dunlop Ground. He said, “We want to see a change in the state leadership that will bring in employment opportunities in Bengal, especially for youths like us."
Shankar Haldar was an MA history student of Kalyani University and a resident of Jirat, he has been supporting the BJP owing to its policies for four years. “Jaa bolechhe, tai korechhe (It has fulfilled its promises),” stresses Haldar wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the word ‘Modipara’ and the map of Bengal. When he was asked about ‘Modipara’, he says, “We want to see the entire Bengal as Modi’s para (neighborhood).”
Sampa Dutta, 38, a resident of Kapasdanga and beneficiary of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana said, “I am a Modi fan. After the CPM and Trinamool Congress, I want dada to come to power in Bengal and bring in poribortan (change)."
Hasina Bibi, 38, assured that the BJP will do more for the minority community than the TMC. “Modi has declared the instant triple talaq illegal. As a woman chief minister, Mamata Banerjee did not even think of that.”
Shyamal Majhi, 32, a resident of Jamna in Hooghly, flags the issue of landless farm laborers and diversion of funds. “There are laws and benefits for farmers, but what about people like us who are landless farm laborers? The poor don’t even get 100-day work, whereas the rich are availing it." He also said, “We were deprived of the PM Awas Yojana. And those who don’t qualify for the scheme, their names were enlisted.”
Nabakumar Rajak (30), a party worker, believes that only a “forthright” Dilip Ghosh can fulfill the dream of ‘sonar Bangla’.
Bishok Manjhi, 54, said, “All leaders are from India. If someone is from our country, then how can that person be an outsider."
Biplab Manna, 31, a resident of Singur said, “The TMC is a party of corrupt people. CM’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee is involved in coal smuggling. That is why the CBI is raiding his house. ‘Dosh korechhe, saaja pachhe’ (He is being punished for his mistake).”
As soon as Modi walks up to the stage, a few scramble up a bamboo scaffolding to catch a glimpse of him. Among them a 21 years old BCom student is was also present, who has come to see Modi up close.
That B.Com student said, “I want whoever is at the helm of affairs should create a business ecosystem in the state. And to begin with, the state government should reduce power tariffs. All factories are shutting down, and investors are reluctant to pump in money here. Mere distribution of cash or cycles won’t help. It may help earn a few votes, but won’t boost development."
Abhigyan Biswas, 27, a resident of Chandannagore and Delhi Bar Council lawyer said, “Here Locket Chatterjee (BJP’s Hooghly MP) is saying that her party will work for farmers while at the Delhi border, they are using their might to suppress the farmers’ agitation.
This is hypocrisy. It is naïve to think that farmers will believe what is being said, go back to their villages and vote for the BJP."
After the completion of the speech Modi moves toward the helipad, a local resident highlighted that it is the biggest political meeting since 1978. Ghosh, who used to work in the firm said, “The last time such a big event was held at this ground was when then Chief Minister Buddhadeb Chatterjee came after the Dunlop factory was shut down."