|OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT|
Calcutta, April 4:
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will follow in the footsteps of Mamata Banerjee, not literally but in an open jeep.
The chief minister will lead a CPM procession from Jadavpur University to Kamalgazi near Sonarpur in South 24-Parganas on Saturday. He will ride the 6km stretch on a jeep with “thousands of party supporters” following him on foot, a source in Alimuddin Street said.
The chief minister’s move comes close on the heels of the Trinamul Congress chief’s four padayatras in south Calcutta this week. Mamata, however, preferred to walk in the rallies. Yesterday, one such padayatra snaked its way through parts of Jadavpur, Bhattacharjee’s constituency.
Asked about Saturday’s procession, Khokon Ghosh Dastidar, the CPM leader in charge of the campaigning in Jadavpur, said: “It will start at 5.30pm from Jadavpur University and will wind its way through Buddhada’s constituency before reaching Kamalgazi. The chief minister will be on an open jeep while thousands of party workers will accompany him on foot.’’
Mamata’s padayatra yesterday was held to garner support for Manish Gupta, the Trinamul candidate from Jadavpur. According to a party general secretary, the Gupta-Bhattacharjee face-off in Jadavpur was a “prestige” issue for Mamata.
“She wants to leave no stone unturned to try to ensure that Gupta emerges as the giant killer by defeating the chief minister. For Mamata, it’s a matter of prestige. If her padayatras and rallies in Jadavpur lead to Buddhababu’s defeat, she will be happy.’’ In an interview with STAR Ananda last week, the Trinamul chief had expressed doubts over Bhattacharjee’s poll prospects this time.
CPM leader Ghosh Dastidar said the chief minister’s procession would be “10 times bigger” than Mamata’s padayatra yesterday. “Not more than 3,000 people from Jadavpur had participated in Mamata’s padayatra. The rest were outsiders, including some from Salt Lake. Around 15,000 women will be part of Buddhada’s rally,” he added.
Trinamul leader Partha Chatterjee said Bhattacharjee’s “efforts to follow Mamata would go in vain”. “He is imitating our leader. But people have seen through his game… his procession will do no good to him,’’ Chatterjee added.
A CPM leader denied that the chief minister was trying to emulate Mamata. “Before every Assembly election, Buddhada leads processions. This time it will be no different. Why will he follow Mamata? These are all canards,’’ the leader said.
A section of CPM leaders said Bhattacharjee had “intensified” his campaign in Jadavpur, “sensing the winds of change’’. Since the polls were declared on March 1, he has been holding public meetings in his constituency almost every weekend.
“He has also held small meetings with students, unorganised sector workers and teachers residing in Jadavpur. He is approaching the voters, admitting the party’s mistakes and appealing to the people to vote for the Left Front. His attitude and body language have evoked a good response,’’ a CPM state secretariat member said.
Courtesy: The Telegraph