Mamata, the lone warrior for TMC

Mamata, the lone warrior for TMC

Mamata, the lone warrior for TMC
“Thanda thanda cool cool, abar jitbe Trinamool,” is the slogan of choice at Bhawanipore, the home seat of West Bengal’s most prominent politician, Mamata Banerjee.

The slogan predictably means Trinamool Congress will return to power without breaking a sweat.  As she walks draped in her trademark handloom cotton saree and flip-flops, people line up along the street just to catch a glimpse. Mamata Banerjee is on home-ground and making a last minute round of her seat.

Trinamool was trailing in the Assembly segment during 2014 General Elections but the enthusiasm of the crowd, the smiles and greetings belie everything, including whispers of her party leaders being involved in corruption, which has become the primary campaign plan for Opposition parties.

A namaskar with folded hands, a smile and shake of hands – Mamata does not seem perturbed or worried over recent developments. A section of analysts have counted doom for her and the Left-Congress combinination claims to be running towards victory.

Mamata, however, looked calm and composed. And like a thousand times in her political career, she walked, passing by houses, shops, markets and street corners through the constituency of Bhawanipore, a seat she took up only in 2011 after relinquishing her Lok Sabha seat of South Kolkata.

While Bhawanipore was earlier just one among the seven Assembly segments in her rather large constituency, Mamata took to it well and so did most of the locals, making it the single most important seat this polling season.

Despite her busy schedule – unlike the Opposition parties, Mamata is her party’s only star campaigner – traipsing across Bengal to promote her other candidates. She has held at least three major roadshows and public meetings in the area.

While Bhawanipore was one of the first places where she campaigned, in the last one month she has held innumerable street-corner meetings across the constituency in south Kolkata. From slums to high-rises, she has reached out to every section of the constituency’s demographic mixed-bag. Even on Thursday, the last hours of campaigning, she made a stop there.

Those who witnessed her roadshow on April 24, the last Sunday before the fifth phase polls, called it “massive”. On Thursday, talking at a street corner, she said: “I’ve grown up here among you all and went on to become first an MP and then an MLA. I belong to all of you and I seek your blessings and best wishes. I would have liked to visit every house here and seek your blessings but I couldn’t do that due to time crunch,” she said.

Mamata walked past the giant cut-outs, posters and pictures of varied sizes, tucked between a flurry of Trinamool flags.

“Don’t pay attention to the lies Opposition parties are spreading. They are spending crores to malign me and my party but you all know me. I’ve faith in people and people who will give them a befitting reply,” she said, all the while on the move, even as fellow leaders sometimes fell behind to wipe their faces on a muggy evening. And every few steps Mamata reiterated her inability to “visit every house”, the sentiment received enthusiastic applause from her supporters and bystanders.
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