Every candidate for the Lok Sabha elections has been provided with one police guard from the force of the state concerned.
Sudip Ranjan Sen, Samajwadi Party candidate from Raiganj, moves around not only with the guard the Bengal police guard has provided him but with two guards from the Uttar Pradesh police. Sen gets the privilege as he holds the post of the chairman of Uttar Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, which gives him the rank of a state minister.
Sen candidate hails from a family of musicians whose roots are in West Bengal. His father Manoranjan Sen set up a music school, Basanti Vidyabithi, at Ultadanga in Kolkata and it has witnessed performances from personalities such as Qazi Nazrul Islam, Hemanta Mukherjee and Manna Dey.
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“I became a candidate to get a social status. Netaji (Mulayam Singh) asked me whether I wanted to do something for the people and I said I was ready. So he asked me to become a candidate,’’ Sen, a successful businessman who happened to be the highest contributor to Samajwadi Party fund last year, told this reporter, while sitting at the party office at Rabindrapally in Raigunj.
The Samajwadi Party in West Bengal broke away from the Left Front just after the elections were announced, ending an association of 30 years, and has fielded candidates in five constituencies including Raiganj.
Sen says he was appalled to see the condition of roads. “My security guards from UP ask me, ‘Saab yahanka rasta itna kharab kyun hai (Why are roads so bad here)?’ and I have no answer. We have had MPs from the same party for the last 15 years but we still lack in the basic infrastructure,’’ Sen said.
Sen, who joined the Samajwadi Party in 1993 and later became close to Mulayam, said he was dismayed to see poverty of the area. “Last year I got 70,000 sarees and 45,000 lungis distributed among the poor people here. And I want to do more for these people,’’ the musician-turned-businessman-turned politician said.
The Samajwadi Party has a presence in this constituency. In 2011, the party candidate from Raiganj assembly constituency, Kiranmay Nanda, now a Rajya Sabha member, lost to the Congress’s Mohit Sengupta by a margin of 5,000 votes.
“We don’t know what will happen but we will give a good fight,’’ Arun Dey, in charge of the party’s election office here, told The Indian Express.