With Lok Sabha elections around the corner, the Trinamool Congress is turning its attention to first-time voters in college and Class XII with a state-wide quiz contest on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s welfare schemes. The prize: an all expenses paid trip to Parliament for the winning team and to the state Assembly for the first and second runners up.
The winners of the first quiz, called Digital Challenge, in Barasat in South 24-Parganas — an inter college knowledge game show in Bangla for students of classes XI, XII and college — were in Parliament last week. A second contest was organised in Baruipur, also in the same district.
The TMC has planned 40 such events across the state — which means 80 students, sponsored by the TMC, will visit Parliament. But with the current session about to end, many of the winners will likely have to wait until after the elections to see Parliament.
TMC Parliamentary Party leader (Rajya Sabha) Derek O’Brien, who made his reputation as a quiz master before entering politics, said: “We wanted to reach out to young people in a way that interests them. It was a great experience for us to interact with them. Their enthusiasm is infectious.”
Similar quiz events are scheduled in Bardhaman, Durgapur, Siliguri and Cooch Behar. Of the two winning teams in Barasat and Baruipur, three students came to Delhi — one could not make it.
Speaking to The Indian Express on their way back to Kolkata aboard the Sealdah Rajdhani, Madhumita Ghosh, a fifth-semester student at Surendranath Law College, said: “We saw Lok Sabha in session but Rajya Sabha was adjourned so we could not see it. But we did interact with the MPs. All of this would have been impossible for us otherwise.”
She was a part of the two-member team from Baruipur and defeated 250 other teams to make it to New Delhi with her teammate Debanjan Das.
For Soubhik Roy, who was part of the second team from Barasat, coming to Parliament was special.
“We are quizzers but he (O’Brien) has not done a quiz in 10 years. So the fact that he returned to the arena for us was very special. We saw the Parliament complex, the statues, Central Hall, all of it. We could not have had this experience without this game show,” he said.