Maa,Mati,Manush… Amaar Maa Mamata. The slogans were in Bengali,the rally organisers spoke only in Bengali,and most in the crowd who turned up to watch the Bengali film stars on the dais were from Bengal. Later,when the candidate spoke,he gave a fiery six-minute speech in chaste Bengali.
Welcome to Noida Sector 31.
The Trinamool Congress,making its debut in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls,took Noida by surprise on Tuesday when it raked up Nandigram to remind them of land issues and the fight for the poor,which only a sensation that is Mamata Banerjee was capable of spearheading.
Roused from his slumber by what sounded like a political rally in the park outside his home,Mukesh Sharma looked out of the window,and saw unfamiliar flags of the Trinamool Congress fluttering in the breeze. Curious,he joined some 200 people who had gathered outside.
But Sharma couldnt understand a word of what was being said. I wanted to hear what stand was the Trinamool Congress taking in the elections. But it seemed as if I had walked into a Bengal convention. I couldnt understand a word of what was being said. Sanjay Chatterjee,the candidate from Noida,only spoke in Bengali. From what I could gather,he was talking about Mamata Banerjee and issues related to West Bengal.
But Sharma was in a minority at the gathering. Most there were migrants from West Bengal,many of them labour hands and rickshaw-pullers. What drew them to the rally was not just a political party from their home state,but the presence of Bengali film actors Tapas Pal and Satabdi Roy.
When they came,I ran to shake hands and click photos. Tapas Pal is a big hero in Bengal. The fact that he is also an MP now has only increased his popularity, one from the crowd said.
When Pal rose to speak,he said,I think I should speak in Hindi as well. After all,we are fighting an election in Noida and want to win. But the crowd responded in unison: Na,Bangla e bolo. Aamra bujhte parbo na (No,speak in Bengali. We will not be able to understand.)
Pal stuck to Bengali: Remember,every vote you give to Trinamool Congress is a vote for the sensation that is Mamata Banerjee. She is the one who waged a lone battle for the common man and uprooted the communist government that misruled West Bengal for 34 years.
Of all the parties in the state,nobody cares for the poor. You have land issues and Mamata fought for the poor in Nandigram. I know we may not win this election,but if all of you vote for the TMC,and we win even one seat,you will be heard in the Assembly.
The crowd roared in approval.