Laxmi Ratan Shukla (LRS), for whom cricket had always been a passion, now wants to return the love of the people by working for the benefit of the society. Being confident of his win, the 35-year-old Trinamool Congress candidate from Howrah North Assembly constituency shares his future development plans with Pritesh Basu.
Why in politics?
LRS: Why not in politics? We have got so much from the society and I have stepped in politics after being inspired by Mamata Banerjee. Who will work for the benefit of people if we avoid stepping into politics? We just need to come out of our negative ideas.
Which one is easier cricket or politics?
LRS: Both are one-ball games. In cricket each and every ball is important. Either you score a run or you may lose a match. Its same in politics, either you perform or you will be voted out by the people.
In both the cases one doesn’t get a second opportunity to. I believe, like cricket, in politics too one must have the talent and zeal to work for the people’s benefit.
Does Santosh Pathak of Congress and Rupa Ganguly of BJP will be a factor in your way to win the elections?
LRS: I like to compete with myself as it improves my work. I am concentrating on my work for Trinamool Congress which leaves me with no time to think about anything else. It’s least important for me to know what others are doing. I know that I will get success if I continue working hard. It was the thumb rule in my cricketing career as well.
You are born and brought up at Ghusuri in Howrah. What are the changes you would like to bring if elected?
LRS: My first endeavour would be to bring up a Hindi Medium Girls College in the area. I find hundreds of Hindi speaking students going across river Hooghly to Kolkata for higher studies as there is no Hindi college here.
What you will like to do for sports in your area?
LRS: I would like to set up a sports academy in North Howrah. I will take steps to improve the infrastructures for football, cricket and athletics.
How much out of 10 would you like to give to your predecessor Trinamool Congress MLA Ashok Ghosh in respect of development work undertaken by him?
LRS: Sorry, I don’t want to show disrespect to my friend, philosopher and guide in politics by binding his work or him within mere odd figures. He is a good human being and I respect him as a senior politician. He has always been supportive to me.
He has been working for the people for long time. He had given his best to bring development in the area in the past four and a half years.
What you would do to revive the jute and other industries in your Assembly constituency?
LRS: See, I am not against trade unions but during the Congress and Left Front regime these industries have faced sever trouble. After the change of guard in the state in 2011, members of Trinamool Congress led trade unions brought back the congenial atmosphere to jute and other industries. Many closed jute mills have opened after Trinamool Congress came in power. I am confident that the situation will further develop in the next term of Trinamool Congress government.
Do you aspire to be the sports minster?
LRS: Actually, I don’t think much ahead of the present time. Let the election get over first. Mamata Banerjee has given me an opportunity to work for the people and I will not let her down. It doesn’t matter to me much whether I become a minister or not.
You started meeting more people after your name was announced by the party supremo Mamata Banerjee as candidate from Howrah North Assembly constituency. What are their expectations from you?
LRS: No development work had taken place during the Left Front regime. People have witnessed developmental changes brought by TMC in the past four and half years. Automatically the expectation of people from us has gone up and we will fulfill their hope by pumping in more effort for development.
Would you like to step in cricket politics?
LRS: (After giving a sarcastic smile) If one has to do politics, he or she must work for the people at the grassroot level. Doing politics from a air-conditioned office is meaningless.
The society has given a lot to the people like us and the time has come to start working for the benefit of the society. Cricket politics is much easier compared to that of which we are in.
Here, I am contesting the elections with a target set in mind that I have to fulfill my commitments within next five years if voted to power.