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Destination north Bengal for heavyweights

Political heavyweights are descending in north Bengal in droves. From Sonia Gandhi to LK Advani, from Rahul Gandhi to Narendra Modi and from Sitaram Yechury to Nitin Gadkari, they are all coming. Pramod Giri reports.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2011 15:56 IST
Pramod Giri

Political heavyweights are descending in north Bengal in droves. From Sonia Gandhi to LK Advani, from Rahul Gandhi to Narendra Modi and from Sitaram Yechury to Nitin Gadkari, they are all coming.

Leading the pack is the Trinamool chief and the chief minister in waiting Mamata Banerjee. She began her tour from North Dinajpur on Sunday and will be staying in north Bengal till April 14. The six districts of the state will be voting on April 18, which kicks off the six-phase elections in the state.

The Trinamool chief addressed five meetings on Tuesday in Jalpaiguri district - Kumargram, Kalchini, Falakata, Dhupguri and Mainaguri.

On Wednesday she will be travelling to Cooch Behar and addressing rallies at Mathabhanga, Dinhata, Chilakhana, Toofanganj and Cooch Behar town.

On Thursday she will be moving to Rajganj, Dabgram-Fulbari and Siliguri. Two other rallies are being planned in North Dinajpur, Islampur and Chopra.

Sonia Gandhi will be addressing a rally in Jalpaiguri town on Friday. Not to be left behind, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi will be addressing two rallies at Malbazar (Jalpaiguri district) and Matigara-Naxalbari (near Siliguri) on Thursday.

The BJP, which is hopeful of winning at least three seats out of 54 in north Bengal, is banking on national leaders to woo voters.

Among the BJP leaders visiting six districts are LK Advani, party president Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh and the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Hema Malini and Smriti Irani also figure in the list of BJP's star campaigners.

The CPI(M) is sending Sitaram Yechury to Darjeeling on Thursday. The politburo member will be addressing rallies in Siliguri.

The CPI(M) is also sending housing minister Gautam Deb to Siliguri on Wednesday. Another state heavyweight, Mohammed Salim, will be campaigning on Friday.