Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is all set to campaign for the Assembly elections in Siliguri on 7 March, the day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address a rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata.
Banerjee is scheduled to arrive in Siliguri on 6 March, and she will chalk out her political game plan as per the popular slogan ‘Khela Hobe,’ to retain a maximum number of Assembly seas presently under her party MLAs in northern north Bengal, party sources said.
Several people from north Bengal, who will be heading for Kolkata to greet Modi, are expecting the PM’s speech at the Brigade to beat the TMC, “when the wave in favour of the BJP is slightly on the downward trajectory in south Bengal due to the hike in prices of essential commodities,” a political observer said.
“Today’s media reports involving Sourav Ganguly, Mithun Chakraborty and Tollywood icon Prasenjit (Bumba), who may be present at the Brigade with PM Modi, have encouraged neo-BJP followers,” an observer said.
On the other hand, two top TMC leaders close to Banerjee- the former and present North Bengal development ministers Gautam Deb and Rabindranath Ghosh- are trying their best to retain their seats and are campaigning every day.
After completing a wall writing, highlighting the party’s latest slogan ‘Bangla Nijer Maye-k Chaay’ (Bengal wants its own daughter as chief minister) in his Assembly Constituency Dabgram Fulbari, Deb today criticised the deployment of the huge number of central forces for the Assembly elections.
“Elections are a festival of democracy. Elections should be held in a festive mood in a democracy. But by deploying central forces, a section is trying to kill democracy,” Deb said, adding, “I have covered many parts of my constituency and reached out to the people. I have done a lot of job honestly for the people. I believe people will give the final judgement. If the people bless me, I will be getting another opportunity to serve them.”
Meanwhile, voters in Fulbari-Dabgram were taken aback today after they found a banner with the TMC symbol near Uttarkanya. The poster signed by “we the soldiers of Mamata Banerjee”, said, “Dabgram-Fulbari demands son of the soil as candidate in the Assembly polls.”
According to a political observer, an anti-Gautam Deb faction may have put up the banner last night.
Meanwhile, TMC leader and former forest minister Hiten Barman was attacked by miscreants allegedly backed by the BJP today.
His car was damaged at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district during the attack as Barman was in a meeting there. BJP leaders, however, claimed that it was a case of clash between two factions of the TMC.
At a time when TMC leaders are involved in infighting, especially in Cooch Behar, North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh said: “BJP won the Lok Sabha seat by obtaining two percent extra votes, though the percentage of vote for the TMC increased by five percent. The CPI-M-backed Left Front hatched a conspiracy to join hands with the BJP so that they could finish the TMC and come back to power in 2021. But the TMC is still working and it will be able to retain power for the third time.”