Union Home Minister Amit Shah, on the second day of his two-day visit to West Bengal, visited the residence of a 'Baul' singer (Sufi genre folk music of Bengal) in Santiniketan to have a typical Bengali lunch.
A day ago, the BJP leader had lunch at the house of a farmer in Paschim Medinipur district as part of his exercise to strengthen relations with the common people ahead of the assembly elections in the state, due in April-May next year.
However, since the Home Minister customarily laid bare the high-profile formalities to have a humble lunch, Twitter has been abuzz about the leader's "down-to-earth" approach, while also being curious about what was served on the menu.
Netizens on Twitter were seen asking what the Home Minister was served during lunch on the two days of his visit.
Now, no sane person can ever blame the novel interest of a foodie to peek into delicacies, more so when they are on the platter of arguably one of the most powerful and influential individuals in the nation.
So here goes —
Today (Sunday, December 20), Amit Shah, accompanied by senior leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya, Mukul Roy, Dilip Ghosh, Rahul Sinha, Anupam Hazra, had lunch at Baul's residence, sitting on the floor of the house.
The menu was dissected and discussed in length by the regional media, particularly by one outlet which cited the Baul singer's wife as elaborating on the food items served to the Home Minister.
The menu consisted of delicacies of the Bengali cuisine such as 'palong saak-er ghonto' (spinach dry curry), 'moong-er daal' (dal made of green gram), 'alu posto' (potatoes in roasted poppy paste), 'begun bhaja' (fried brinjals), 'nolen gurer payesh' (Bengali rice pudding with date palm jaggery), 'nalen gurer rosogolla' (cottage cheese balls in date palm jaggery), and 'tomato chutney'.
After the hearty lunch, Shah listened with rapt attention as Basudeb Das Baul and his family sang a popular folk song 'Tomay Hrid Majhare Rakhbo' (will keep you at the bottom of our hearts) with 'ektara' (one-stringed musical instrument) after the BJP heavyweight arrived at the baul's modest residence, 'Manohardham Kutir', in Ratanpally area of Santiniketan in Birbhum district.
Yesterday (Saturday, December 19), Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh had lunch at a farmer's house in East Midnapore's Balijuri village on Saturday.
As usual, the items on menu were discussed in detail by the regional media outlet, apparently enlivened by the delicacies on offer.
The menu consisted of primarily traditional items such as 'shukto' (Bengali appetizer of stewed vegetables), 'posto diye khoshla shaak' (leafy curry with fried poppyseeds), 'ucche bhaja' (stir-fried bitter gourd), 'fulkopi'r torkari' (Bengali spieced cauliflower curry) , 'lau diye moong dal' (green grams dal with bottle gourd), and 'potol bhaja' (fried pointed gourd), served along with rice and roti. The dessert consisted of sweets, curd, chutney, and papad.
The lunch by BJP leaders at the farmer's residence is also being seen a part of the party's outreach to the farming community on the three agriculture laws.
During Amit Shah's November visit to the state, he had lunch at the residence of a tribal BJP worker in Bankura and the house of a matua community member in North 24 Parganas.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to West Bengal on the second day was marked by a roadshow in Bolpur in Birbhum district, a predominantly Trinamool Congress(TMC) bastion. His repeated pledge of a Sonar Bangla was met with huge applause as BJP supporters thronged the streets to hear what the saffron party has in store for West Bengal if they come to power in the 2021 Assembly elections.
“You have given Trinamool Congress a chance, now give Narendra Modi a chance, we will make it Sonar Bangla (Golden Bengal) in 5 years,” said Amit Shah.
Shah was careful to strike the right chord amongst the intellectual population of Bengal and evoke the sentiments of Bengali culture to combat West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegations of BJP being an ‘outsider’ and detached from the state’s cultural heritage.
As Shah promises frequent visits to West Bengal, TMC is strategizing ways to woo voters and keep the outsiders away from Mamata’s turf.