“Mother nature is crying because she is unhappy with CPI(M) rule,” Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee said on Tuesday, referring to the drizzle.
Since Sunday, when she started her tour of north Bengal from Malda, she has addressed 15 meetings, including those in South and North Dinajpur districts. At least five more will follow — in Coochbehar, Darjeeling and again in North Dinajpur.
The Trinamool has hardly any influence in north Bengal and in the major parts of the six districts that will go to polls in the first phase on April 18.
The anti-left zones — particularly in Malda and North Dinajpur — are held by the Congress.
Hence Banerjee, who is also railway minister, has to play the Congress card to woo voters there. She held hands with Congress leaders at meetings on Sunday in a show of solidarity. In Malda, where she addressed three meetings, Banerjee sought votes in the name of “Barkat da” (departed Congressman ABA Ghani
Khan Chowdhury), whom she described as the iconic Congress leader “who fought for development”. She said, “I am beginning my campaign from Barkat da’s district, I need your blessings.”
On Tuesday she said: “North Bengal has always remained close to my heart … there have been so many railway projects (though she has just one MLA there).”
However, it is not a smooth ride for her.
In North Dinajpur, disgruntled Congressmen are contesting as independents and have been receiving overt support from Congress MP Deepa Dasmunshi.
Banerjee warned at the meeting in Hematabad, in Dasmunshi’s constituency: “Don’t vote for the fake Congress, vote for the original one.”
With inputs from Anirban Choudhury in Malda, North Dinajpur