She waves at the crowds, shakes hands with the people and greets
them either with a namaskar or an adab - depending on whether she is
traversing a Hindu or a Muslim majority area. Trinamool Congress
chief Mamata Banerjee is drawing people by the thousands as she
canvasses for her party candidates in the city for the April-May
With the restrictions in force on using loudspeakers in view of the
ongoing higher secondary examinations, Banerjee has been holding
roadshows alongside her party leaders to woo the voters.
She seldom speaks and even refuses to give soundbites to the media
during the roadshows which continue for several kilometres at a
Be it Behala in the city's fast developing southern outskirts, or
Shyambazar that still oozes old world charm in the north, Banerjee
is being virtually mobbed by party supporters and the people
Carrying party flags and posters and shouting "Maa Mati Manush (a
catchy Trinamool slogan coined by Banerjee) Zindabad" and "Mamata
Banerjee Zindabad", the workers and commoners are walking miles with
the firebrand leader who is being regarded as a strong contender for
the chief minister's chair after the polls.
Similar scenes of crowd adulation were seen in the Muslim majority
areas when Banerjee led a gargantuan seven-km long procession from
Ekbalpore More to Ramnagar.
With an eye on the Muslim vote bank, Banerjee along with city Mayor
Sovan Chatterjee and other senior party leaders, covered several
localities dominated by the minority community that constitutes
around 26 percent of the state's electorate.
As Banerjee walked past Mominpore, Garden Reach, Khidderpore and
Metiabruz, the crowd swelled.
Thousands of people stood on both sides of the roads and waved at
Banerjee, who returned the gestures.
Groups of youngsters were seen riding motorbikes carrying Trinamool
flags, and shouting slogans eulogising Banerjee and cursing the
present Left Front government of the state.
Former Congress state executive president Pradip Bhattacharya led a
large group of party supporters, who hailed Banerjee. They shouted 'Didi
r sathe Congress' (Congress is with Trinamool) and carried life size
cutouts of Banerjee.
At Ekbalpore, residents of several buildings showered flower petals
on the 56-year-old leader, who has established herself as the main
alternative to the state's ruling Left Front.
Banerjee almost walked the whole stretch of the road, seemingly
enjoying every moment, as her die-hard supporters broke the police
cordon and tried to interact with her.
Banerjee, not one to miss the opportunity to gel with the people,
herself broke the security cordon on several occasions in her
attempt to reach out to them.
As the rally reached Khidderpore, the Trinamool leader was cheered
by a large number of people standing near the crossing to catch a
glimpse of her. Banerjee briskly walked towards them and exchanged
Evening had set in and the roadshow was at its finishing point.
Banerjee asked her supporters to return home safely and hopped into