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Leading ladies give vote call

Lalgola had been waiting patiently since morning braving the hot sun to see the historic moment. It finally came five minutes before 11 am. Rakeeb Hossain reports.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2009 00:11 IST
Rakeeb Hossain
Rakeeb Hossain
Hindustan Times

Lalgola had been waiting patiently since morning braving the hot sun to see the historic moment. It finally came five minutes before 11 am. Congress president Sonia Gandhi (63) was standing tall on the dais. But she was not waving her hand at the crowd, a thing she usually does at any public rally. The crowd was growing impatient, but Sonia was looking behind trying to locate someone she left behind when she came up to the dais surrounded by SPG personnel and Congress leaders.

A few seconds later Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee (55) made her entry to complete the frame.

Sonia and Banerjee stood side by side waving at the crowd all smiling — a moment that entire Bengal had been waiting for since the Congress and TMC entered into a seat sharing alliance.

And, as if to cement the deal further, Sonia herself pulled Banerjee’s chair closer to her so that the two could hold their own discussions. Sonia sat in the front row with Banerjee on her right and Pranab Mukherjee (74) on the left. Banerjee was overwhelmed by the generosity and within moments the two ladies sitting side by side could be seen smiling and sometimes heads bowed together in serious discussions.

Sonia was all praise for Banerjee. “I am happy that once again we have Mamata Banerjee with us. Now you have to decide on which path you want to take the country. At one point of time, we had to import even needles. Then the Congress government worked hard to make the country walk the path of progress. The country wants a secular government and only Congress can ensure that... We are proud of Bengal. It is rich in art and culture and has a long history of Freedom Movement. Bengal has time and again shown new roads and I salute this land,” said Sonia asking the people of Bengal to vote for the Congress-TMC alliance. “Vote for the Congress and Trinamool candidates in Bengal. And I hope… no, not hope, but know that you will all vote for Congress and Trinamool candidates,” said Sonia.

Banerjee, on her part, took on the responsibility to ask the people of Murshidabad to cast their votes in favour of ‘hand.’ “We will together defeat the CPI(M) this time. CPI(M) only tells lies and does nothing for the people of Bengal… The CPI(M) government has failed miserably, so don’t vote for them. We will rebuild Bengal together. So vote for Congress and Trinamool. Here in Murshidabad vote on the Hand symbol and defeat the CPI(M). We will win. Priyo dada aar Pranab Mukherjee ke vote din (Vote for Priya Ranjan Das Munshi and Pranab Mukherjee,” said an enthusiastic Banerjee.

First Published: Apr 28, 2009 00:07 IST