Unavailability of a chopper is proving to be a deterrent in Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee’s efforts to campaign across West Bengal for party candidates, with the state chief minister being forced to resort to time-consuming travel by road to her rallies.
She was scheduled to address gatherings in neighbouring states like Assam, Tripura and Jharkhand to promote TMC candidates. In the last couple of days, however, Banerjee was forced to cancel rallies outside West Bengal at the last moment.
Party insiders said Mamata is peeved about the cancellations and is disturbed that people had to wait in the summer heat in places where she arrived late. Sources said that while unavailability of a helicopter forced the Trinamool chief to cancel a rally at Barpeta in Assam on Wednesday, in Bengal, she was delayed by more than three hours in areas of the West Midnapore district on March 31. She even had to cancel a public meeting scheduled for Thursday at Bhatar in Burdwan district due to lack of time after already holding two meetings at Kulti and Baraboni.
“Banerjee is fighting without any ally this time and she is under pressure because she has to be at a hundred places at the same time. Besides the 42 constituencies in Bengal, she has to campaign at around 65 constituencies in Assam, Tripura, Jharkhand and other states. The absence of a chopper is making things extremely difficult for her,” a senior party leader said.
While leaders have suggested buying a chopper so that Banerjee can save time, helicopter prices to the tune of crores is not an amount anyone is willing to shell out right before the Lok Sabha polls.
“We don’t have that kind of money to buy a helicopter. We had rented one, but it recently broke down,” said Mamta