A Pooja Naidu is inconsolable — her husband and mentor, who made her the councillor from Ward 18 of Kharagpur Municipality, is
no more. A class X graduate, 24-year-old Pooja had won the seat in 2015 on a BJP ticket. Later, she joined Trinamool Congress in April the same year.
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Her residence at New settlement area, a stone’s throw away from the Trinamool party office where her husband A Srinivasan Naidu alias Srinu Naidu was shot dead on Wednesday, is buzzing with activity, with many coming over to offer their condolences.
“I was nothing, he made me a councillor. I still don’t understand… I was just the face, he used to work on my behalf. He had always supported me… I wish this was a bad dream. I couldn’t manage even one day when he was away, now he is gone forever… how will I survive?” she asked as her 8-year-old son Tarun kept on asking for his father.
“It is politics… every one is a friend, every one is an enemy. He had many rivals but I do not know who killed him. His birthday was on January 6, but he was in Kolkata. I spoke to him over the phone. We were supposed to celebrate when he returned. He came back on Wednesday… I had gone to the municipality and no one was at home. I had cooked food. Before I could call him for lunch, I was told that he has been attacked. I thought he had suffered minor injuries… but he is dead,” Pooja said.
Meanwhile, a small railway quarter at Dhansing Maidan in Subhash Pally wore a deserted look.
This is home to Dharma Rao, Srinu’s aide, who was also killed in the attack. On Wednesday, Rao had left home telling his wife that he would be back in half-an-hour.
“My husband is innocent. He was just a good friend to Srinu. He had received a call on Tuesday. The caller probably threatened him, but he didn’t tell me much about it. He paid a huge price for being close to someone as powerful like Srinu,” said 25-year-old V Rosa while holding her four-month-old daughter.
Rao, who was unemployed, used to be with Srinu round the clock. “I had told him that I wanted a simple life… I convinced him to go to Hyderabad where his parents live. He said he will do so in the next few years… till then he wanted to earn some money… My daughter will never know her father,” said Rosa.
“I hope she gets some compensation from the government so that she can do something on her own and look after her baby,” said her brother M Kiran. Since Wednesday’s attack, neither the police nor anyone from any party has paid the family a visit, said locals.
“Dharma Rao knew every bit of Srinu Naidu. It seems whoever killed them knew everything about them… they planned the murders in such a way that there was no chance of their survival,” said a local.