Mamata Banerjee may be known for her firebrand speeches but she seems to be following in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi. Padayatras are definitely the order of the day the Trinamool Congress chief hits the campaign trail.
After Behala on Sunday, Banerjee took to the streets of north Kolkata on Tuesday to canvass for her party candidates.
The Trinamool chief traversed the five Assembly segments that fall under the North Kolkata parliamentary segment in two-and-a-half hours. She was accompanied by Mala Saha, the Trinamool candidate from Belgachhia/Cossipore, Sashi Panja of Shyampukur, Sita Bakshi of Jorasanko, Sadhan Pande of Manicktala and Paresh Pal of Beliaghata besides MPs Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar.
Pande said delimitation had changed the character of the Assembly segments in north Kolkata. "There has been a complete shake-up in the vote bank. However, given the Trinamool's growing support base and the anti-Left wave, we hope to win all segments."
"I am reaching out to the people. It is part of the mass contact programme. People should know their candidates and also the leader of the party," Banerjee said with a smile.
Green balloons filled the air as Trinamool supporters raised slogans while marching from Tallah Park to Rajabazar. Chowtrish bochhor jaliye, Jyoti gelo paliye, Bangla hobe shuddho, ebar jabe Buddho, Bodla noy, bodol chai, Debo na, debo na, Writers' ta debo na are some of the slogans that were heard during the padayatra.
The padayatra was attended by Trinamool supporters carrying party flags, posters and giant cutouts of Didi. Thousands lined the road to greet Banerjee, jostling with each other to catch a glimpse of the Trinamool chief. As they waved to the leader, she returned their gesture. At Shyambazar, residents of several buildings showered flower petals on Banerjee.
"I have come from Birbhum to take part in Didi's rally. I have been waiting here for three hours but I am happy that I could take part," said Saibal Barui.
Banerjee plans to cover the entire city through padayatras before she hits the campaign trail for the first phase of elections in north Bengal on April 18. "We don't have much time and there is a lot to cover. But I know no matter how much we campaign, people will ultimately take the final call. We hope they will bring about the change in Bengal and repose faith on us," Banerjee said.
With IANS inputs