Poll campaign heats up in North Bengal

Siliguri, Apr 14 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS)  With only three days to go before the first phase of assembly polls in West Bengal begin with the polling in northern region, campaign has reached feverish pitch with an array of political heavyweights hitting the trail, often braving inclement weather.

From Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and Congress poster boy Rahul Gandhi to BJP patriarch L K  Advani and some of the senior ruling communist leaders, it is a high-profile campaign in north Bengal, considered a strong citadel of Marxist where the TMC-Congress combine is trying to make inroads.

But the spotlight was more on Mamata Banerjee as the Railway Minister try to break ground in the Red fortress.

West Bengal is going to a six-phase assembly polls from Apr 18 to May 10, beginning with the six districts of north Bengal.
The six north Bengal districts are Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, North Dinjapur, South Dinajpur and Malda.

Mamata Banerjee, who is in her last day of  campaign in north Bengal, started with Islampore (North Dinajpur) and followed it up by holding another campaign in Chopra in the same district.

“We don’t work on communal lines like the CPI-M [Communist Party of India-Marxist] as Hindus and Muslims are the two inseparable segments of Bengal politics,” said Mamata at
Chopra, thus tingling the raw nerve of the Marxists.

On the other hand Congress General Secretary Rahul, who started late due to bad weather, held his first campaign at Naksalbari in Darjeeling and then at Malbazar in Jalpaiguri.

“If TMC-Congress is voted to power, they will deal with unemployment head-on in northern Bengal,” he promised voters.

In a marathon race, Mamata Banerjee campaigned at four different parts of Cooch Behar district on Wednesday and promised development in the region.

Terming the rough wind that was blowing during the day  “the wind of change”, she cancelled her chopper ride and chose to go by road.

Mamata said at Mathabhanga: “We have to vote CPI-M out this time, it’s now or never.”

The crowd-puller reminded the gathering saying, “in 35 years of Left rule, they (Left Front) did no developmental work in the region” and said that during one and half years into the railways she came out with 21 factories.

“CPI-M has done nothing in areas of education, health, minority welfare”, she harped as she headed for Dinhata, Natabari and Tufangunj from Mathabhanga.
On the minority welfare front, Mamata said the Sacher Committee report on Muslims would be followed.

Addressing the young men as brother she promised,” You need not go out in search of job in other states”, assuring that if elected to power, they “would generate employment in the district itself”.
“CPI-M is a party of unbelievers, while Trinamool Congress(TMC) believe in all faiths,” she said.

Like in her earlier campaigns, she appealed to the masses in Cooch Behar to shun the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) so as not to divide the anti-Left votes.

Mamata said if they (TMC) were given the mandate, they would acquire land not by force like Left-front government, but by peaceful negotiations.

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