TMC ropes in cartoon characters for Lok Sabha poll campaign
Kolkata: From HergÃ©’s famous creation Tintin, to Bengal’s favourite cartoon characters Handa-Bhonda, Bantul The Great, Nonte-Fonte and Gablu to Hindu mythological figure Lord Krishna – it seems they all have joined West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress’s Lok Sabha campaign in South Kolkata. Across the walls of Kolkata-South Lok Sabha constituency party workers have painted these colourful characters with appeal to vote for the Trinamool Congress candidate.
It’s quite a change from the usual political wall graffiti that one gets to see across Bengal ahead of the elections. They are often drab, with just party symbols, names of candidates and constituency. And more than often people rue that the walls of their properties have been used by political parties for ugly political spats. Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, Trinamool Congress MLA from Rashbihari Assembly constituency in South Kolkata, has been aware of this. In fact, he too shares the general dislike for ugly graffiti. And that got him to think of using the cartoon characters to send across the political message, without any malice.
“I have seen that people in Kolkata-South Lok Sabha segment don’t really like wall graffiti that have been traditionally part of the political campaign in the state. People consider them as visual pollutants,” Chattopadhyay told Mail Today.
Armed with that belief, he has been personally painting much of these characters himself across various localities in South Kolkata. The difference is showing as these graffiti are standing out and people are stopping by to look at them. All the characters appeal to the voters to support and bless Subrata Bakshi, the Trinamool candidate in the Kolkata-South seat. The constituency was once represented by Trinamool chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who quit the Lok Sabha seat in 2011 after winning in the Assembly byelection. Later, Bakshi won in the parliamentary by-election to retain the Lok Sabha seat in Trinamool’s kitty.
“I have used popular characters because I think one can easily connect to the masses through these characters and they don’t feel irritated if you paint the walls of their properties colourfully in such a manner,” Chattopadhyay said. However, even as he banked on the popular characters, Chattopadhyay was against drawing caricatures of politicians. “If we do so what will our children learn?” he asked. So, Chattopadhyay, who is party’s Chief Whip in the Assembly, has not attacked anyone personally in these graffiti. According to him, political parties fight against political parties, not against any individual.
“This is a very good gesture. I appreciate it. I have seen people really like such interesting stuff,” said Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha nominee from Kolkata-South Subrata Bakshi. The electors too seem to be happy. “I have often seen people to stop and watch these graffiti and walk away with a smile,” said Tara Sarkar, a resident of Rashbihari locality.