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Mamata Banerjee Dunks Kolkata Mayor In Pool

PTI 13 Dec 2010, 14:45:32 IST
KOLKATA: Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, in his starched Sunday best, teetered on the edge of the pool. Hands waving, toes digging into floor tiles, he staggered and somehow regained balance. A few titters followed. He, too, joined the laughter. Then came the second shove. A bigger one. This time, the mayor fell helplessly into the pool.

Behind him, the prankster - Mamata Banerjee - burst out laughing. It's a side of Mamata few have seen - the firebrand politician likes a good laugh. And the mayor, shocked at first, took it in good humour.

The Trinamool chief had been invited to lay the foundation for a new booster pumping station in Chetla. The usual speeches were made. To unwind, Mamata playfully went to the newly inaugurated children's swimming pool next to the dais. Her partymen followed.

Sovan's daughter, dressed in a swimming costume, and one of her friends dived in. As the mayor clapped with the others, Mamata said "Go, play with your daughter," and gave him a nudge. Sovan lost his balance but somehow regained control. The relief was clear on his face. He was clad in an elegant jacket.

It was fun for Mamata. Sensing her mood, some leaders asked for an encore. Mamata waited for some time to catch Sovan off guard. While the mayor watched his daughter swim, the party chief gave a second shove.

This time, the mayor lost his balance, perhaps willingly, out of obedience. For the first few seconds, Sovan looked awkward in the waist-deep water. But a survivor in Trinamool politics, Sovan got over the embarrassment and played with his daughter in the pool.