Congress Ghosh, Juktafront Sheikh, Sabhapati Ghosh and RSP Biswas are neither political leaders nor psephologists. They all are veteran voters ready to stand in the queue and cast their votes in the Lok Sabha elections 2019. Born post-Independence, they were named after political parties and blocks of considerable repute and influence in the locality. But they now admit that they no longer nurse the degree of love and passion for politics, which required their parents to coin the names after political outfits. Politics is not without ups and downs. So are the lives of Congress, Jukta-Front or Sabhapati hailing from Nabagram block of Murshidabad district.
Congress, Jukta-Front and Sabhapati have seen a great deal of political affairs that shaped Bengal as well as India in the last few decades. From ballot papers to EVM, degeneration of political culture, fair elections turning foul with the parties keeping electioneers and musclemen armed with bombs and bullets and violence taking subtle and silent form with proliferation of psychological violence among the electorate – they have seen it all. And they hope to find a silver lining one day in Indian politics.
Congress Ghosh is a 54-year-old resident at Barobathan area of Nabagram. He is a primary school teacher. His wife Satyabati met with a road accident and died recently. His daughter is married and son is a Physics Honours graduate who is struggling to find a job. “I have heard from my parents that our locality was the stronghold of the Congress party at the time I was born. When grown up, I came to realise the facts behind my naming. People’s curiosity was high and it used to irritate me so much that I sought to change my name by filing an affidavit. But I dropped the idea, thinking of possible hassles,” said Congress. “I also thought that my name was the choice of my parents and the change may amount to disrespect to them.”
His residential area under Kiriteswari Gram Panchayat of Nabagram witnessed the rise of CPIM and its rivalry with the Congress during the Left Front regime in Bengal. Now the Trinamool Congress rules the roost at this GP. But the ups and downs of the political parties and their tussle, said Congress Ghosh, never affected him.
TMC GP chief Pranab Das said, “Does namesake really matter? Ghosh’s name itself carries his political identity and ideology which has been recognised for years. We also have no issue over it.”
Juktafront Sheikh alias Atahar is a resident of Kaliganj village near Simanapara crossing on Palsanda-Lalbagh ghat road in Nabagram. “I got my name when the Juktafront alliance came to power. Actually I was born on the day of election in 1967. I feel happy with my name. It does not matter if it reveals my political identity,” said the thatcher who is also into farming. “But there are people who laugh at me. It’s their problem, not mine,” he said.
His brother, Kabatulla, is known by his nickname Janata in the locality. “I believe that people’s right to vote should be protected and the elections should be free and fair. I never even dictate my wife to vote for the
party of my choice. You may ask for her opinion in this regard,” said Juktafront.
His wife, Jahera Bibi said, “My husband never tells me to vote for any particular party. But I think that I should follow him. So, I always vote for the party he likes.”
“I do not like to waste my vote. Whatever be the problem, it is my duty to stand in line and cast vote,” said Juktafront.
Sabhapati Ghosh, another child of politics, was born 60 years ago at Barobathan, a hamlet in Nabagram block of Murshidabad district. Now into dairy farming at his home, Sabhapati feels happy to declare: “My name has an advantage. People never forget me and my name. Once a land officer burst out laughing when he saw me and came to know that I was not Sabhapati (president) of any political party.”