This 19-year-old student of Kings College London is on a different assignment in Raiganj. Wearing a white shirt and blue jeans, Priyadeep Dasmushi is giving speeches at public meetings, seeking votes for his mother and Congress candidate from the constituency, Deepa Dasmunshi.
Attending roadshows in an open jeep with his mother from 8am till the dead of night, Priyadeep has no time to spare. “This is my exam week but I had planned everything. I am here to support my mom. The experience is quite different. I have seen the hard work of my parents. Now I am experiencing it myself,” said Priyadeep, a first-time voter who has become the campaign face of the Congress in Raiganj.
Priyadeep studies Philosophy, Political Science and Economics at Kings College and took a break to campaign for his mother. He will vote on April 18 when Raiganj goes to polls in the second phase, before leaving for UK.
The Indian Express caught up with Deepa Dasmunshi and Priyadeep during a road show at Matikunda in Islampur block. While the convoy passed through villages, Deepa Dasmunshi was heard speaking about Rahul Gandhi’s Nyay scheme promising Rs 72,000 directly to the bank accounts of the poor. She also highlighted alleged communal politics of the BJP. Priyadeep stood beside his mother and waved at passersby as his name was announced frequently by party workers.
“Though I have grown up seeing Congress leaders, I have my own perception. I cannot support the ideologies of the BJP or the RSS. Apart from the communal harted they are spreading, it is their economic policy that is regressive,” said Priyadeep.
Priyadeep’s father and senior leader Priyaranjan Dasmunshi died on November 20, 2017 at the age of 72, after being in coma for nine years following a stroke. Priyaranjan Dasmunshi won the Raiganj seat in 1999 and 2004. Deepa won the seat in 2009, but lost in 2014 when CPI(M)’s Md Salim won by a slender margin of 1,643 votes.
About Raiganj, Priyadeep said, “My father fell sick in Raiganj. It took us 18 hours to fly him to a decent hospital in Kolkata. He was Union cabinet minister then. Imagine the plight of common man. If the Congress comes to power and my mother wins, we will try to get an AIIMs here.”
On his perception on politics versus a career, Priyadeep said, “The youth today is more politically aware through social media. The Congress has many young faces… I will concentrate on my studies for the next few years. Then I wish to return and do something for the people.”
Once the road show in Islampur ended, the mother-son duo left for Raiganj town, about 90km from Islampur, to attend a public meeting.