KOLKATA: A former Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA, who was elected to the Bengal Assembly for four consecutive terms from Bhangar constituency in South 24-Parganas district, is now fighting to make ends meet due to an acute financial crisis.
The ailing CPM leader, Badal Jamadar, known as one of the few 'real communists' still alive in Bengal, does not even have enough money to secure two square meals a day.
He won the Assembly elections in 2011 when the Trinamool Congress took over at the helm, ending the Left Front’s 34-year regime. That election had erased the names of several Left heavyweights, including former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, from Bengal's political map.
However, he could not contest the Assembly elections in 2016 because of physical ailments.
Jamadar’s family members alleged that none of his fellow comrades from the Alimuddin Street party headquarters in Kolkata visited his dilapidated house to meet him.
"Jamadar is a person who is respected by everyone, irrespective of caste, creed and group. We heard of real communists who would wash their own clothes despite being given a berth in the state government’s cabinet. I did not see them, but I have seen Jamadar. He helped the poor without looking at their political affiliations. I saw him in the queue in the local post office and the bank along with others,’’ said Mohammad Mosharaf, a young Trinamool worker living near Jamadar’s house.
Jamadar first contested the Assembly polls from Bhangar in 1991. "My father did not avail the facility of travelling in a car offered by the CPM after his victory in 2011 against a strong Trinamool wave. He used to take an auto-rickshaw or cycle-van to reach the nearby bus stand and from there he used to travel in a crowded private bus to reach the Assembly," said Jamadar’s younger son Anarul.
Jamadar’s other son died of a kidney ailment three years ago and the family said they could not bear the costs of his treatment. Jamadar was admitted to a private hospital but his family members decided to get him discharged after hospital authorities handed over a bill of Rs 1.5 lakh. The family had to sell out a plot to pay the hospital expenses.
Jamadar gets a monthly pension of Rs 9,500 and the entire sum is spent on his medicines. "None of the party leaders from Kolkata came to meet him. Now, we are struggling to arrange two meals a day," said Jadamar’s wife Rizia.
Tushar Ghosh, the CPM’s district secretariat member of South 24-Parganas, said local CPM leaders visited his house. "I will take up the issue with our party leaders in Kolkata to ensure his treatment in a state-run hospital," he said.