A landscaped banner on Harish Mukherjee Street read “ Unnayan ghore ghore, ghorer meye Bhowanipore e ”, while one on Asutosh Mukherjee Road near Jadubabu bazar read “ Banglar Bhowanipore, Bhowanipore er Mamata”. Another banner on Potuapara read “ Bhowanipore Didikei Chay”. All banners had multiple photographs of Banerjee and the one on Harish Mukherjee Road urged voters to elect her with a massive margin.
“We are ready with all election promotional material. Although the party hasn’t officially named Banerjee as candidate, we are certain she will be the one. We are excited to kick off the campaign and deck up Bhowanipore,” said Jhontu Dey, a party whole-timer and close aide of Kamarhati MLA Madan Mitra.
Banerjee, in the past three decades, had always chosen Bhowanipore (also her home), and Kolkata (South) Lok Sabha (of which Bhowanipore is a part) to contest polls.
Ward 70 councillor Asim Basu was whitewashing a wall on Roy Street in Chakraberia, preparing it to be painted with the TMC symbol. He added that keeping Covid protocols in mind, TMC would stress on banners, hoardings, cutouts and promotional materials behind autos and taxis for the campaign with one or two street-corner meetings maintaining all safety nor ms.
“Mamata Banerjee is a household name and she doesn’t need to be introduced to voters. The Covid situation is absolutely under control in this part of the city but we will try to organise the campaign with least physical presence to ensure strict compliance of Covid protocols,” said Basu.
Banerjee, in the past three decades, had always chosen Bhowanipore (also her home), and Kolkata (South) Lok Sabha (of which Bhowanipore is a part) to contest polls. Barring a 176-vote deficit scare in the 2014 Lok Saha polls in Bhowanipore, she has never trailed here. She was a Kolkata (South) MP from 1991 to 2011 and a Bhowanipore MLA from 2011-2021.
Some voters didn’t share the enthusiasm though. “We have just seen how an election spiked Covid cases. I am not sure if I would risk standing in queue and vote again,” said a businessman and resident of Elgin Road.
Another shopkeeper, Tarun Dutta, however, said the timing was just right. “There are very few Covid cases being reported from our area. Since the bypoll is necessary, this is the best time to hold it just before Pujas,” he said.
Actor and BJP leader Rudranil Ghosh, who had contested and lost the election against Sovandeb Chattopadhyay five months ago, criticised the bypoll being held only in three out of seven places. “Does the Election Commission feel Bhowanipore is immune to Covid 19 or do they feel people in Bhowanipore need an MLA and not others? If the party asks me to contest again I will happily fight the election but there have been no such instructions yet,” said Ghosh.
(With inputs from Saikat Ray)
Campaigning will be done keeping in mind all Covid protocols, says Hakim
At the KMC headquarters, state transport minister and KMC Board of Administrators chairman Firhad Hakim said Trinamool would keep in mind Covid protocols while reaching out to voters in Bhowanipore constituency during campaign. “Our CM represents all 213 seats we have won. Bhowanipore is no exception. Ours is a responsible party and we know how to go on a campaign trail during a pandemic,” he said.