Is 'parivartan' just twodays away? Will the Mamata Express derail the 34-year-old Left Front government in Bengal? Will Didi stake a firm claim to the Writers'?
With just over 48 hours left for the results, Bengal is currently on a 'waiting' mode. "Wait till May 13. Today, I have nothing to say," the Trinamool leader told journalists waiting outside her residence on Tuesday.
In a flash, she was in her office, about 20 yards away from her home. "Give me some paints and a brush. Don't bring too many colours. Get me red, black and yellow," she said. There was a reason for Mamata to be relaxed. The exit polls have already made her the next chief minister.
When this HT correspondent met her for a one-to-one, she went down memory lane. "It was blood all over," Banerjee said, recalling the near-fatal blow she received from a CPI(M) goon at Hazra in south Kolkata on August 16, 1990. "I could feel blood trickle down my cheeks, but there was no pain. Then came the second blow. As I tried to save my head with my hand, the third followed. My right wrist was smashed. They did everything to kill me. But I am a different breed altogether", she said.
As she splashed colours on the canvas, she looked relaxed for the first time in over a month. In the past 30 days, she has addressed at least 5 meetings a day.
She also narrated the story of how a group of Congressmen, including her, posed as lovers to escape a police raid at the Maidan in 1980. Such tales emanating from a firebrand leader is surely difficult to believe.
She recalled another incident. "This was in Haridevpur (on the southern fringes) way back. That time, I was in a jeep with Sonali Guha, now MLA, when the police chased us. We managed to get into a house. There, we swapped our sarees and Sonali got into the jeep with the cops chasing her. I came out and went home in an auto-rickshaw," she said.
"The CPI(M) has destroyed the administration. The police force is demoralised. The state is in a financial mess. We have a tough task ahead," she said. "People voted for change. It was like a freedom struggle and many voters tasted liberty for the first time," she remarked.