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Masses swayed by Bhupenda's poetry, prose

April 17, 2004 03:15 IST

'Giving something to the society' seems to be the mantra for Assam's cultural icon Bhupen Hazarika nowadays.

Beginning his day early after a frugal breakfast, the Dadasaheb Phalke award winner and Bharatiya Janata Party candidate for the prestigious Gawahati Lok Sabha constituency, Hazarika is devoting all his time to fulfil his ambition to do 'something for my people'.

On his enormous success in life, Bhupenda, as he is popularly known, says this time he wants to 'give and not take'.

On Thursday, he got into his vehicle and set out for Borkhetri to campaign for the April 20 poll.

During the daylong journey, he covered as many as six assembly segments in the Lower Assam area and despite the dampening weather and torrential rain, people gathered in his meetings in reasonable numbers.

The 'public meetings' are not held in open fields but arranged by the village mandals and considering the weather; the gathering is mostly held indoors.

Addressing the people, Hazarika exhorts them to vote for the BJP and explains why he joined the party 'despite opposition from the people of Assam', saying that he was influenced by 'India's greatest Prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee'.

Most of his speeches are a mixture of poetry and prose, which have considerable effect on the masses.

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"He enthralls us with his song and that is why we came here because the politicians mostly deliver lengthy and boring speeches, which is not acceptable," says Dharanidhar Barman of the Mukalmua area who braved the inclement weather along with hundreds of his fellow villagers to listen to Hazarika.

Newly inducted BJP member and a former secretary of the Assam legislative assembly Mahendra Sarma, who generally accompanies Hazarika to all of his meetings, says the thrust of his campaign is to educate the people about the 'good work' done by the National Democratic Alliance government.

Despite facing the ire of a section of BJP supporters in this constituency, who are agitated over the fact that sitting MP and Union minister Ms Bijoya Chakravarty was denied the ticket, Hazarika's supporters feel that he will have a cakewalk.

"There is absolutely no opposition to his candidature," says Manojram Phukan, party member and a close associate of Hazarika.

Phukan, who unsuccessfully contested the Guwahati West Assembly seat in the last election on a BJP ticket, says the response from the people have been 'spontaneous'.

Hazarika is pitted against the Congress' former MP Kirip Chaliha and former state home minister and opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) nominee Bhrigu Kumar Phukan.

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