When journalist-turned-politician Sudarshana Mukherjee, Trinamool Congress’s Ward 68 candidate for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) polls, decided to jump into the political bandwagon, she turned to senior party leaders for advices. What they said has become her maxim now.
‘Don’t ask people to vote for you. Talk to them and try to instill the confidence in them that if they vote for you, you will solve their civic problems’. Clinging onto this advice, Mukherjee hopes she will be able to live her dream of ‘reaching out to people who need help’.
“In my area, there’s a huge economic divide. While Mandeville Gardens is full of super rich people, just across the street are eight slums,” she told The Indian Express.
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The TMC candidate, who got “in touch with top leaders of almost all the national and regional parties” while working as a TV journalist between 2008 and 2011, seems to have identified “the two main issues of the ward”.
“Water logging is a teething problem here and if I am elected, people would expect me to take care of it, for which I am preparing myself. Again, many elderly here are so lonely they don’t have anyone to talk to if the maid doesn’t turn up. I will work towards that and create a women’s group who would give company to such people. I believe it will be a small step towards building a humane society. I am not thinking of anything else,” Mujherjee said.
But while her election will be decided by voters on April 18, her decision to join politics, and then the TMC, took shape over a period of time.
“As a journalist between 2008 and 2011 when the TMC had not come to power, I had the chance to see (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee from close quarters and she had been a huge inspiration. (And as such) I didn’t choose TMC, they chose me,” she said, and added that it was the local ward committee leaders who approached her and asked her to contest the upcoming elections.
Pitched against veteran politicians such as Chhanda Bagchi (Congress), Bandita Baul (CPM) and Mitali Saha (BJP), Mukherjee is still hopeful she will sail through. “BJP was leading from this ward in the Lok Sabha polls last year but that was an MP election and there was this ‘Modi Magic’ then which influenced people. At present, even the Marwari families that I have visited said they are disillusioned with the BJP and wanted to rest their trust on us,” she said.
Even instructions from the party chief has been “to perform our duties well and we will get the due recognition from the people”. “All the ward councillor candidates would be meeting her on April 16 at 1 pm for guidance,” she said.