Curtains came down at 5 p.m. on Thursday on the high decibel campaign in 30 Assembly seats in West Bengal where polls are scheduled in the first phase on 27 March.
The 30 seats are spread across tribal-dominated Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram, Purba Medinipur (Part 1) and Paschim Medinipur (Part 1) districts which were once considered the citadel of the Left in the state.
The campaign for the seats saw high profile leaders of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), which has emerged as the main Opposition to the ruling Trinamul Congress, addressing poll rallies in Purulia, Jhargram and Bankura districts promising ‘ashol poriborton’ (actual change) to build ‘Sonar Bangla’ (prosperous Bengal).
The star BJP campaigners for the seats going to poll in the first phase were Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
The other star campaigners of the saffron party were Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, party president Jagat Prakash Nadda, top brass leader Smriti Irani who repeatedly harped on the various “scams”.
They attacked Mamata Banerjee’s party for the multi-crore rupees Saradha scam, the Narada tapes scandal to the more recent alleged siphoning of money meant for cyclone Amphan relief and the TMC government’s dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The saffron party leaders furiously attacked the Mamata Banerjee government for not allowing the implementation of Central schemes like the Ayushman Bharat, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi and 80 other schemes aimed at helping the poor, Dalits, tribals and people from the marginalised sections.
The BJP leaders claimed that corruption and anarchy are prevalent in TMC ruled West Bengal and that the party will put an end to the menace after coming to power in the state.
The saffron party leaders, including Modi, targeted TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee alleging that he was involved in cross-border cattle smuggling and the coal scam.
In almost all of their rallies, the BJP also targeted the TMC-government for its “cut money” culture and patronising “syndicate raj” in the state.
Bollywood veteran Mithun Chakraborty who joined the saffron party only recently, campaigned for BJP candidates at Jangalmahal and Bankura. His road shows became a huge hit as people from all walks of life gathered to hear him, throwing all caution for Covid-19 protocol to the winds.
On the other hand, West Bengal chief minister held poll rallies in each of the 30 constituencies, her injured leg notwithstanding. The TMC supremo in her campaign described the Modi government as “antipeople”. She also blamed him for not allowing the state government to give free Coronavirus vaccine jabs to the people.
She alleged that “harmads” (goons) of CPI-M who had joined BJP had scripted the attack on her at Nandigram, from where she is contesting this time, to stop her from campaigning. Banerjee, who is among the most vociferous critics of the Prime Minister, had said that the Centre is selling off government concerns and that only Modi’s “factory of lies will remain”.
She urged people not to vote for “goons from outside” (the state) and often threw the challenge at BJP by uttering her party’s popular “khela hobe” (game will take place) slogan.
She charged BJP with bringing in outsiders to the state for the Assembly polls and attacked the Modi government for the hike in the prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas. TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, another star campaigner for the party, urged the people to vote for “Banglar nijer meye” (Bengal’s own daughter) Mamata Banerjee to live in peace in the state.
~With inputs from PTI~