BJP’s Kargil War veteran pads up for Bengal poll battle

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Kolkata, April 10 (IANS) The battlegrounds may have shifted from the harsh terrain of Kargil to the coal belt of West Bengal’s Asansol, but for BJP candidate Col.(retd.) Diptansu Chaudhury contesting the assembly polls is another way to serve the nation.

Tasked with operational logistics planning during the Kargil War, Chaudhury’s mission, if he wins, would be to ensure drinking water to the water-starved households in the Asansol South constituency in Burdwan district. Here, he is pitted against sitting Trinamool Congress legislator Tapas Banerjee and his challenger Hemant Prabhakar of the Communist Party of India-Marxist in a five-cornered contest.

“For over 20 years, I worked for the nation on government pay. Now, it is time to give back to society. If I win, my agenda will be to solve the water management issues in my constituency and bring drinking water and running tap water in all homes,” Chaudhury told IANS ahead of the polls in his constituency on Monday.

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Likening an army cantonment to a civic authority (municipal corporation) in terms of management, the 44-year-old political rookie dislikes being called a “war veteran”.

“I have a long way to go in public service and BJP is the right platform for me. It thinks for the nation, whereas the other parties are knee-deep in corruption and that is not my cup of tea,” he asserts, brushing aside the criticism against the BJP over the intolerance debate as “manufactured” by a section of people.

Since the poll notification, Chaudhury, now based in Kolkata, has covered 22 wards and seven villages as part of his campaigning, going door-to-door and in particular “feeling the pain of the womenfolk” among the over-2.44 lakh voters in the constituency.

Does his newcomer tag and the fact that his service life as an Indian Army officer took him to 11 states, disconnecting him from Bengal, dim his chances?

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“The irony is that people don’t know the sitting MLA. My opponent was away from people all these years. I am ahead of him,” the IIM-Indore alumnus said.

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