Kolkata:

Baul singer Basudeb Das, who was promised financial help from the West Bengal government, on Wednesday rued he could not have a word with Union Home Minister Amit Shah as he left the poor folk artiste’s Santinketan home shortly after having lunch there on Sunday.

The BJP, on the other hand, said the TMC “woke up” to the baul singer’s plight only after Shah visited his house.

Mr Das, whom TMC Birbhum district chief Anubrata Mondal promised monetary assistance from the state government, said he will attend Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s rally in the district on December 29.

“I had a few things to tell to Amit Shah Ji, who is such a big person. I wanted to tell him about the condition of baul artistes and whether something could be done (to improve it).

“The state is already offering us help but whether there could be some central initiative. But most importantly, I wished to tell him about the financial difficulties I am facing to fund my daughter’s higher education, who has recently passed MA,” Mr Das told reporters at the TMC office, with Mr Mondal sitting beside him.

Mr Das said he was happy to have Mr Shah at his residence and savour the delicacies and listen to his baul song but was upset as he did not get a chance to speak to the Union home minister.

“Neither did any BJP leader get in touch with me after Amit Shah Ji left,” he said.

Mr Mondal said, “BJP may have forgotten Basudeb Baul after that day but we are by their side 365 days. He will get financial support from the state government.”

Mr Das said he had been regularly getting rice and wheat under the state government’s free ration distribution for the poor during the lockdown period.

BJP national secretary Anupam Hazra, who had overseen Amit Shah’s lunch programme at Mr Das’s residence, said in a Facebook post, “The TMC woke up to the plight of Basudeb only after Amit Shah Ji had lunch and not in all these years. This shows the BJP takes the lead in spotting the poor people in society.”

“If any poor family gets state government help after Amit Shah Ji has lunch at their home, there will be more such lunch programmes. Also, we know after 2021 assembly polls, the same Basudeb Baul will share his experience of being lifted from his home by TMC,” Mr Hazra added.

In a similar incident in November, local TMC leaders had met the members of a tribal family in Bankura district and offered them help after Shah had lunch at their residence.

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