Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is contesting the by-poll to the prestigious Bhabanipur assembly seat in the state to retain her post, Monday paid a sudden visit to two municipal corporation wards in her constituency and a mosque and interacted with the locals.
Banerjee paid a surprise visit to Sola Ana Masjid and interacted with the locals while returning from the state secretariat.
BJP leader Amit Malviya mocked Banerjee for her visits and said in the days before the by-poll she will “hop from booth to booth.”
Banerjee was accompanied by state minister Firhad Hakim, who is also the election in-charge of ward 77 which she visited.
The feisty TMC boss was seen sitting on a chair and interacting with locals to maintain social distance, a COVID protocol.
On her way back to her home, Banerjee visited another ward and attended a small programme conducted by her party workers.
I follow rules laid down by the EC. I try to interact with people while travelling in the area. There is a COVID protocol which I have to follow. I saw that a small meeting was going on, so I just dropped in to convey my greetings and seek your blessings. I hope I will not be deprived of your blessings, she said.
Mocking at her, Malviya, the national convenor of BJP’s IT cell tweeted, If you thought Bhabanipur is a “no contest” and Mamata Banerjee is confident of winning hands down, then forget it. She is sweating. This visit to Sola Ana Masjid is not sudden but a planned visit to seek votes from ward 77. In the next few days, she will hop from booth to booth.
Banerjee, a resident of Bhabanipur, had won the seat in 2011 and 2016. But this time she had shifted to Nandigram, the scene of the 2007 anti-farmland acquisition movement against the erstwhile Left Front government which had catapulted her to a major political force in the volatile state.
This change of seat was done to dare her former protege and now BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari on his home turf. As it turned out Banerjee led TMC to a resounding victory for a third straight term in office but she lost in Nandigram.
Banerjee is required to win a seat in the state assembly by November 5 in conformity with the constitutional provisions in order to continue as chief minister. The Constitution allows a non-member of a state legislature or Parliament to continue in a ministerial position without getting elected only for six months.
After her defeat in Nandigram, Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, state cabinet minister and TMC MLA from Bhabanipur, vacated the seat to facilitate her return to the assembly from there.
Banerjee is pitted against BJP’s Priyanka Tibrewal and Left Front’s Srijib Biswas in the September 30 by-poll. Congress has decided not to field a candidate against her.
The votes will be counted on October 3.
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