Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is itching to hit the campaign trail yet again – this time in a wheelchair – hoping to maximise the optics and milk the Nadigram incident dry.
The BJP has unwittingly played into her hands by clamouring from rooftop that the ‘attack’ was stage managed, which she had deftly linked to the removal of her police chief the previous day.
Those who were hoping that video footage will shed light on the incident were sorely disappointed. The footage shows Banerjee standing on the footboard of her SUV as it slowly moves forward.
The front passenger door, where she is standing, is ajar. Banerjee has an arm around the window frame in a 'namaskar'. Suddenly, as the crowd propels forward, she falls back and the door slams on her.
The rest is stuff of folklore now: how four to five unknown people banged the door shut on her, leaving her with a bruised foot, languishing on a hospital bed. On Thursday morning, however, she did not refer to any attack or conspiracy.
But, through a video message from SSKM hospital, Mamata sent out a message loud and clear: If need be, she will campaign in a wheelchair. ‘‘All my schedules will remain the same and, if required, I will campaign in a wheelchair. I hope in the next 2-3 days I will get back to work. I will manage this leg injury. I will not it affect my campaign meetings,” said the TMC supremo.
In another video clip, the Chief Minister is seen lying in a hospital bed with a plaster on her left leg. Urging TMC cadres and common people to ‘stay calm’, Mamata asked everyone to ‘spread the message of peace’.
According to TMC sources, Mamata will resume poll campaigning from Purulia on March 14 and is scheduled to visit Jhargram On March 15.