With his own constituency, Jadavpur, looking slightly more secure than it had seemed a month ago, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has, finally, begun to step out of his home turf.
On Saturday, he launched a full-fledged poll campaign in the districts, beginning with Nadia.
Bhattacharjee has a non-stop schedule from April 16 to May 4.
During this 19-day period, he will campaign in the districts of Nadia, West Midnapore, East Midnapore, Bankura, Hooghly, Howrah and the North and South 24-Parganas, apart from some constituencies in Kolkata.
The chief minister has begun to move out only after addressing more than two dozen rallies and road shows in his own constituency over the past month.
Following the arithmetic of the May 2010 Kolkata Municipal Corporation election, the CPI(M) was trailing by about 1,500 votes in the Jadavpur Assembly seat.
"Bhattacharjee put his best foot forward in Jadavpur, or else it couldn't have been saved. We think he's been able to tide over the crisis, since he covered almost every booth in the segment," a senior state committee member told HT.
According to his itinerary, Bhattacharjee will rest, perhaps, only on April 27, the day on which Kolkata goes to the polls. The sixth and final phase of polling in West Bengal is May 10 and the party is yet to finalise his tour schedule between May 4 and May 8.
It was only four to five days ago that the CPI(M) finalised Bhattacharjee's campaign in the South Bengal districts, only after it was convinced that the Jadavpur seat had become somewhat more secure. On earlier occasions, such schedules would be finalised almost a month ahead.
Amiya Patra, state committee member of the CPI(M) and the party's district secretary in Bankura, said, "The chief minister will address an election rally in Bankura town on May 2. But I got the confirmation only four days ago. During the earlier polls, we used to get confirmation of such programmes almost a month before."
Bhattacharjee did not campaign for a single seat of the 54 going to the polls on April 18 in the first phase.
April 16,17 Nadia
April 18 North 24-Parganas
April 19 South 24-Parganas
April 20 Kolkata
April 21,22 24-Parganas
April 23 Kolkata
April 24 Kolkata and South 24-Parganas
April 26 Howrah
April 27 No programme, poll in Kolkata
April 28 Hooghly
April 29 Hooghly
From April 30 to May 4 Various places in East and West Midnapore, Bankura