With less than two days to go before she is pitted against ally-turned-opponent Suvendu Adhikari, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is leaving no stone unturned to woo voters. Weeks after she was injured in the constituency, the TMC supremo is presently campaigning there atop a wheelchair with her leg propped up.
Elections for the 294 seat West Bengal Assembly are underway. The first phase concluded last week with a voter turn out of more than 80% and the next phase is slated to take place on April 1. And as political leaders across the country scramble to make a lasting impression, Banerjee has coined an unusual and memorable new slogan.
"Cool cool Trinamool, thanda thanda cool cool, vote pabe joda phool," she proclaimed during a a road show in Sonachura, urging people to "keep your mind cool for 48 hours". The "joda phool" or twin flowers is a reference to the TMC poll symbol.
Not to be outdone, the BJP is also making efforts to drum up support for Adhikari. Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah on Tuesday afternoon held a roadshow in Nandigram. Over the last few months both parties have repeatedly expressed confidence in their victory.
Speaking on Tuesday, Banerjee alleged that police forces from BJP- ruled states had been brought in to "terrorise" voters in Nandigram assembly seat where she is locked in a keen contest Adhikari.
Before leading a colourful road show from Bhangabera, Banerjee told a public meeting in Sonachura that police personnel from Madhya Pradesh have been deployed to "terrorise" voters in villages and tilt the balance in favour of the BJP. She, however, said she was confident of a massive win from the seat and also about leading her party to a third straight term in power.
The TMC supremo led the 3-km road show that meandered through the narrow alleys of Nandigram, as crowds shouted "Jai Hind, Jai Bangla, Mamata Banerjee Zindabad" and denounced "Mir Jafars (betrayers)".
In a veiled threat to Adhikari, she said, "They (police forces from outside) will be here only for a few days. Make no mistake, we will be back and give the betrayers a befitting reply."
(With inputs from agencies)