Durgapur traders alleges of extortion by local Trinamool leaders

A dance programme to be held at the Srijani Auditorium of City Centre in Durgapur on 11th August is under clout because traders in Durgapur have alleged that some Trinamool leaders of Durgapur has been collecting money for the dance show by using pictures of the artiste with the President and the Prime Minister’s wife.

ad-tariff-card-used-to collect-money-from-traders-in-durgapur
The ad tariff card having the picture of dancer Sadananda Biswas with Pm’s wife Gursharan Kaur, President Pranab Mukherjee and MP Karan Singh

Several traders have alleged that the dance show for which the money is being collected is by a troupe owned by a party leader’s brother. The Kathak dance troupe, Kathak Dharohar owner Sadananda Biswas, brother of local Trinamool leader Biplab has been projected as someone very influential having connections with “famous personalities.”

The traders said the Trinamool leaders, including Kathak dance troupe owner Sadananda Biswas’s brother Biplab, were telling them that the artiste knew “famous personalities” and it would be “better” if the traders paid up.

An advertisement tariff card that has pictures of the artiste with the President and the Prime Minister’s wife is being used to collect the money, virtually by showing off how much influential person Sadananda Biswas is.

A trader at Benachity market who has paid Rs 20,000 said: “Local Trinamool leader Biplab Biswas gave me the tariff card. I was surprised to see the picture of his brother Sadananda with the President, the Prime Minister’s wife and a Congress MP.

The traders objected to the use of pictures of Sadananda with President Pranab Mukherjee, the Prime Minister’s wife Gursharan Kaur and Congress MP Karan Singh on the ad tariff card for the souvenir to be published for the dance show tomorrow.

“When I asked Biplab, what was the need to have the picture on the tariff card, the leader said his brother was a Kathak dancer of international repute and had links with famous personalities. He said it would be better if I paid for the advertisements.”

The trader said if the dancer wanted to showcase his achievements, “he could very well have published the picture on the invitation card”.

The advertisement tariff ranges between Rs 2,000 and Rs 25,000.

Sources said many Trinamool councillors and leaders in Durgapur were among patrons and “well-wishers” of the Delhi-based dance troupe — Kathak Dharohar, who are going to stage a two-hour dance programme — Megha (The Cloud) at Srijani Auditorium of City Centre, tomorrow evening.

When media persons contacted Trinamool leader Biplab, he said his brother was a “struggling” dancer, a far cry from the claims of “international repute” and acquaintance with “famous personalities”.

“Sadananda is struggling in Delhi. We are helping him organise the dance programme. We never pressured any trader to give ads,” he said.

Biplab said entrance to the programme would be free. “Our budget is Rs 2.5 lakh and we have raised the money through sponsorships and souvenir ads. We will help under-privileged dancers in Durgapur with a portion of the money,” said the Trinamool leader.

Sadananda, who learnt Kathak at the National Kathak Research Centre in Delhi said, he had put the picture on the tariff card to showcase his “achievements”. “I am not a celebrity dancer. I know that only my name will not attract advertisers. So, I used my picture with famous personalities to impress advertisers. The picture was taken at a dance programme in Delhi in July last year,” he said.

Use of pictures of the President of the country, who is also the first citizen of the nation for collecting money, has surprised everyone, irrespective of his party loyalty.

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