The Bengali New Year known as ‘Poila Boisakh’ is around the corner and will be celebrated on April 15. It is an auspicious day for Bengalis especially the traders as it is “haalkhata” time for them, which marks a new beginning of their ledger accounts. With the Poila Baisakh occurring amidst the election season, the political parties are going all out to woo the Bengali voters and the Bengali businessmen.
While on one hand, the BJP is all set to distribute Bengali calendars with NaMo (Narendra Modi) pictures and go door-to-door paying respect to the elders with packets of sweets, on the other hand, the Trinamool Congress is distributing greeting cards designed by their chief Mamata Banerjee.
The BJP, hoping to make the most of the NaMo wave, especially in West Bengal, is leaving no stone unturned to garner as many votes as possible. In view of that, Poila Boisakh is being perceived as an occasion to exercise BJP’s PR skills as well as to campaign for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose interest in Bengal has found a substantial number of sympathisers there.
“NaMo T-shirts and NaMo sarees will be distributed at street gatherings, the poor will be treated with sweets, our party cadres will visit houses and offer sweet packets, and they might ask for a cup of tea and if they find the situation conducive, they will go for a ‘chai-pe-charcha’, said a party local leader of Bhowanipore.
The BJP candidate from Kolkata (South), Chandra Kumar Bose, will embark on a door-to-door campaign and will use the occasion to seek blessings from the elders and support from all.
In South 24 Parganas, a district in West Bengal, the saffron party leaders have also ordered crates of ‘saffron laddus’ to be distributed to street children and the poor.
Unhappy with the way BJP is wooing voters with sweets and gifts, TMC is now considering moving to the Election commission complaining about BJP’s antics while the Model Code of Conduct is in effect. While some of TMC leaders are thinking of going BJP way to charm the voters, the senior leaders have decided to lodge a complaint to the Election Commission.
A TMC supporter from Jadavpur claims that they have decided to keep the entire affair low profile with ‘Prabhat Pheris’ (processions of songs and dances and tableaux) and distribution of greeting cards with Mamata Banerjee’s good wishes and signature.
What has taken the Bengalis by surprise is that BJP, often considered as a party of the Hindi heartland, is trying hard to imbibe the Bengali ethos, culture and its festivals.
Even BJP national leaders are coming to Bengal and addressing the crowd in Bengali at least for the first few minutes. BJP now celebrating the Bengali festival goes to establish that, the party, often dubbed as a party of ‘Hindi-speaking’ people, is set to enter Bengal, absorb and acclimatize to the “Bengali-ness.”