Days after hosting BJP leader Amit Shah at his house for lunch, Baul singer Basudeb Das on Tuesday took part in the Trinamool Congress rally in Bolpur along with other folk singers and shared the stage with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
After Shah’s luncheon, Das had expressed his unhappiness with the BJP, saying he was not allowed to meet Shah during his brief stopover.
On Tuesday, Mamata Banerjee welcomed him to the stage and draped him with her own uttoriyo (traditional stoles). She then requested Das to “bless the crowd with his song”. As expected, Das obliged and sang the famous Baul song “Tomay Hridoy Majhare Rakhbo, Jete Ddebo Na (I will keep you in my heart, will not let you go)”— the same song he had sung in front of Shah.
Shyamal Barui, Muktipada Das Bagdi and several other Baul singers from the region also performed at the TMC rally on Tuesday.
While Barui openly advocated his support for Mamata Banerjee, Basudeb preferred to strick to political-neutral notes.
“Mamata Banerjee gave us identity. Now, the Trinamool government has given us an identity card, a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000… So, why don’t we stay with Mamata Banerjee?” he said.
Another Baul singer Sumanta Das from Ruppur area of Sriniketan echoed Barui. “We are Baul singers. We are a separate community. We are not professional singers and sing folk songs for money. We used to beg and whatever we got from begging, we used to live on it. But, Mamata Didi gave us regular earnings and we are grateful to her.”
Basudeb Das, however, said, “We are artists. We don’t understand politics and we don’t support any party or politics. But, whenever big leaders like Mamata Didi or Amit Shah call us, we always try to attend their functions.”
“The BJP came to me with the request to host Amit Shah for lunch. I did all the shopping. They (BJP leaders) only bought the sweets that were served that day,” he said, adding that he was under “no pressure from the Trinamool” and had come to attend Mamata’s rally “voluntarily”.
When asked who is in your heart – Mamata Banerjee or Amit Shah, Basudeb replied, “Both are very learned persons and both will remain in my heart.”
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