The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The bridge, the river and kids' play. Brilliantly captured by Sujay Kumar Das.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Kolkata turning Buddhist

Today's post has no options in subject. Because one subject is far too overpowering for any other possible option. Anybody who checked today's papers in Kolkata (Incl. online versions) will know. It's Bengal Polls, whose results were out yesterday afternoon. The Left Front, ruling the state for the last 29 years, a record in any democracy across the world, has been voted back to power once again with a mammoth majority that beat almost all exit poll predictions all of who anyway projected Left as the winner.

What's interesting is, while entire Kolkata has traditionally not been known as pro-left, the Left Front slightly bettered results this time by winning in a few new constituencies and giving away some to it's erstwhile opponent AITC (All India Trinamool Congress) led by Mamata Banerjee. But the silver lining was that Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya won by a record 58000+ votes. A record by any Bengal CM to date.

Since Buddhadeb took charge as the CM a couple of months before 2001 polls, he has been continuously winning hearts of the middle class educated Bengali in and the youth (A major force in the electorate) in Kolkata. The reasons have been his unquestionable honesty, an incredibly low-profile lifestyle (Can you believe he refuses to shift to a CM's residence leaving his old small govt flat in South Kolkata?), level-headedness, sincerity, reformist nature, vision for the state and above all admitting mistakes (Past and present) and failures. His sincere and professional drive for industrialization in the state earlier known as the deathbed of industry has won accolades not only from people but from the whose who of industrialists- the likes of Azim Premji and Ratan Tata. The progress in IT is particularly bright. Kolkata is now third-ranked in software exports in India leaving the emerging Pune behind. Come to think of it the govt truly pursued IT since 2001 only, with an IT ministry being created. Now the IT zone in Kolkata, popularly known as Sector V (In Salt Lake, the satellite township at it's outskirts) is a hotbed of IT professionals with big players like Wipro, TCS, Cognizant, Satyam and Tech Mahindra (Formerly Mahindra British Telecom).

Hence for valid reasons, Kolkata, and I believe the best of Bengal is turning Buddhist for valid reasons, with the CM's fan base shooting up.