For eight years, they have looked at him to deliver the goods as their elected representative in Lok Sabha. As Pranab Mukherjee is now all set to move to Rashtrapati Bhavan, Jangipur was elated as people cutting across political and religious lines distributed sweets and danced in joy.
But somewhere down the line a tinge of gloom prevailed in the constituency in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district with many seemingly sombre at losing their dear ‘Pranabda’ or ‘Pranabbabu’ as the local MP. Mukherjee, who once regretted that people called him a “rootless wanderer” as he had till then never won a direct election, got his first taste of Lok Sabha victory in 2004 and then retained the seat with a bigger margin in 2009.
He had time and again expressed his deep thanks to the people of Jangipur for “giving him a new political identity”. And as a return, Mukherjee had started lot of development projects. Large amounts were allotted for preventing erosion, a second campus for Aligarh Muslim University was finalised, while nationalised banks were roped in to open new branches and ATMs at frequent intervals for financial inclusion of the largely impoverished area.
“We are all very happy that Pranabbabu has become the president of India. We have been celerating and bursting crackers since morning, as we were confident about his win. It is a great honour for all of us,” said Mohammad Sohrab, legislator of Jangipur, which falls under the Jangipur Lok Sabha Consituency.
“But we also feel a bit empty and sad about losing Pranabda as MP as he has done lot of developmental work for the area.” Chants of Pranab Mukherjee Zindabad and the sound of drums echoed the entire area, as people carried big cut-outs of Mukherjee and danced in joy. Some people also offered special prayers and namaz. Jangipur, being a Muslim populated area and with the Ramzan month currently on, Iftar parties will be held in Jangipur and special Namaz will be offered wishing his well being.
“It has been a dream come true for the people of Jangipur as we had dreamt about seeing Pranabda as the next president since the day his nomination was announced. Celebrations will continue through the entire week,” said Akhruzzaman, legislator from Raghunathganj, which also falls under the constituency. Both Sohrab and Akhruzzaman have congratulated Mukherjee after his victory and are scheduled to attend his swearing-in ceremony on July 25.
Nuggets about the new president
>> Mukherjee is the only finance minister to have presented budgets in the pre-liberalisation and post-liberalisation era.
>> Indira Gandhi once suggested to Mukherjee that he hire an English tutor and brush up his pronunciation. He simply refused, preferring his thickly accented Bengali English.
>> BJP leader LK Advani once remarked that the Congress-led government would not last a day but for Mukherjee
>> Mukherjee was once famous for smoking his trademark Dunhill pipe. He gave up smoking many years ago and now advises others to kick the butt