This Trinamool candidate cashes in on Obama factor

A Trinamool Congress candidate here is hogging the limelight by distributing leaflets that boast of a pat on the back from US President Barack Obama for his efforts at organising environment-friendly community Durga Puja.

Updated: Apr 14, 2011, 14:34 PM IST

Kolkata: A Trinamool Congress candidate here is hogging the limelight by distributing leaflets that boast of a pat on the back from US President Barack Obama for his efforts at organising environment-friendly community Durga Puja.

Arup Biswas, a legislator from Tollygunge in South Kolkata, has listed Obama`s praise as one of his achievements in the leaflets he has been distributing to all and sundry to woo voters to retain his constituency.

The part of the leaflet that refers to the commendation from the White House is marked in red. And it reads that Obama had written to Biswas applauding him for organising environment-friendly Durga Puja and for espousing a social cause.

Despite the obvious effort to sway the electorate, Biswas chose to downplay the praise from Obama while speaking to a news agency.

"It was not intended to impact the voters. I have always tried to do my bit for the environment. It is just another achievement," Biswas said Thursday, while on a roadshow in his constituency.

Biswas has been organising the crowd-puller Suruchi Sangha community Durga Puja based on themes stressing the need for a greener and cleaner environment. He earned praise from Obama for spreading the green message after he wrote to him, asking for his suggestion on the Durga Puja themes.

On the clamour by the environmentalists for inclusion of green issues in party manifestos, Biswas said: "Certainly... Our manifesto includes steps that we intend to take for a green Bengal. Large-scale tree plantation and promotion of alternate sources of energy are some of them."

On the issues that he plans to take up, Biswas said: "Development is the most important issue. When we come to power, people will realise what development means."

The first step that Biswas plans to take on the environment front is to ban plastic. "Plastic bags and cups pose a great threat to the environment. They choke the drainage system. Once we come to power, we will ensure stringent implementation of the law banning the use of plastic bags."

"I will also talk to the tea stall owners to use earthen mugs instead of plastic cups and undertake large-scale plantation of trees," said Biswas.

Asked if the ban will affect the livelihood of those employed in the industry, Biswas replied: "We will arrange alternate employment sources for them."

IANS