“Babu (my son) has not been keeping well for some time. I haven’t seen him in five days. I will be heading home right after this conference ends,” says BJP’s newly-elected MLA from Saltora of West Bengal, Chandana Bauri. A first-time legislator, this has been her routine for quite some days— coming to the Vidhan Sabha to deliberate with the ruling party MLAs and Speaker, and keep checking on her son in the middle.
Is she enjoying her new life? “I like it,” she replies. “Srirupa Ma’am and Suvendu Sir have helped me a lot. In fact, Mejda (Suvendu) lent me his car to travel from Saltora to Kolkata,” she added.
The meek, unassuming woman of diminutive stature is a daily wager herself, who lives with her labourer husband and two children. Coming from the lowest strata of society, she became publicly known to everyone as ‘the poorest candidate of BJP’. In the West Bengal Assembly elections held in May this year, she defeated Santosh Kumar Mondol of the Trinamool Congress.
Standing in the Assembly hall makes her emotional. “I’m grateful that BJP gave a ticket to someone like me,” she said. Her face, however, glows with confidence behind her red-and-yellow mask. “Although traveling to Kolkata is very expensive, I will still come. I have to, for the people who have voted for me,” she says defiantly.
As of now, she wants to concentrate on improving the condition of the roads and water supply in her constituency. A lot of challenges await in her journey ahead, but as of now Bauri’s happy that she has the MLA hostel to put up in. And there is always ‘Mejda’s’ car to travel from Bankura to Kolkata!