A former chief secretary who served both Jyoti Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee,Manish Gupta says his entire family was against him joining politics. The fact that he was taking on Bhattacharjee,a five-time winner from Jadavpur constituency,must not have made them any happier. The fact that he would go on to beat the CPM stalwart by 16,777 votes perhaps never figured in their thoughts.
My phones have not stopped ringing, says Gupta,on his way to the Trinamool Congress office at Ward 105 in Jadavpur constituency.
However,in the midst of the celebrations and the gifts and accolades that have been pouring in,the former bureaucrat who is now in his late 60s manages to retain an unexpected calm. Attributing his win to party workers,the Trinamool candidate says: They are the real victors,they should be given the limelight.
Guptas first priority would be providing clean drinking water to every household in the constituency,he says,talking about the problems of arsenic contamination in the area. Its a shame that being a Chief Minister,Buddha babu did nothing for his own people.
He also wishes to stop the deep politicisation of academic institutes,lambasting the Left for the deep-rooted disease. At the Ward 105 office,nearly a hundred supporters wait for him,listing out their basic needs. Sir,we expect you to meet us at least once every week to hear our issues and problems, says Tarun Mondal,Councillor of the Ward. Gupta reassures them and asks them to draw up plans for meetings every fortnight.
A candid Mondal adds that while he always knew Gupta would win,he thought the victory margin would be lesser. It has been his image as well as his exuberance that inspired everyone of us, says Mondal.
After a brief halt,it is off to Ward No 104. My leader is the leader of the people. If she asks me to provide my experience as a bureaucrat for better functioning and policy implementation,I would surely cherish that.
The expectations are high. The owner of a small cycle repair shop on Prince Anwar Shah-Em Bypass link road,who is happy he could shake hands with Gupta,Abu Hazra says: I want a better job and I am sure he will provide that.