Mamata Banerjee, chief of Trinamool Congress has made an impossible task possible by covering all the 294 constituencies in 53 days.
This is for the first time when any Chief Minister has visited every area in the state and addressed public rallies in support of party candidates braving scorching heat when temperature varied anything from between 38 degrees to 42 degrees Celsius and when 12 people including polling personnel have died of sun stroke.
The Election Commission of India had announced the dates of six phase polling in West Bengal on 3 March. The dates were April 4, 11, 17, 21, 25, 30 and May 5. On March 3 Mamata Banerjee announced her list of candidates for 294 seats and on March 10 published the party’s election manifesto.
Banerjee began her campaign on March 4 starting from North Bengal where the party’s base is still not very strong. She addressed rallies in Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling and took part in road shows. She held meeting in Malda, South and North Dinajpur, Alipurduar ended her campaign at Cooch Behar on Tuesday afternoon.
She spent some hours at her residence on April 14 which was Bengali New Year’s day with her family members and left for election campaign in the evening. Braving excessive heat and overcoming discomfort factor she addressed rallies in Burdwan, Bankura, Purulia and Jangalmahal when the temperature varied anything between 40 degrees and 42 degree Celsius. Interestingly, braving all odds there were thousands of people who attended the meeting. Thousands of people took part in the road shows.
She held meetings in Murshidabad, Nadia, North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly. In Kolkata, she took part in two road shows on April 28, just two days ahead of the poll on April 30 where she was contesting from the Bhowanipore seat. She took part in a procession which started from Sulekha more off Santoshpur to Gariahat and the other one in her own constituency Bhowanipore. On this day she walked over 10 km. Unlike other leaders she walked during her road shows, meeting people and sometimes talking to them and did not travel by a car. On April 28, on Dhakuria Bridge a mother holding her two year old daughter on her lap broke the police cordon and came close to Banerjee and touched her feet. Most of the people who took part in the rallies were common people who believe that Banerjee is there to look after them.
A doctor preferring anonymity said: “It is impossible for any human being to address three rallies in one day without it affecting their voice. Under normal circumstances Mamata Banerjee’s voice should have been broken. Also, travelling by chopper and attending the rallies might have affected her health badly. But as nothing has happened she is unique phenomenon in medical science.”