Deluge of supporters at Mamata’s Kolkata walkathon

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Kolkata, March 21 (IANS) Thousands thronged the streets of Kolkata to get a glimpse of their favourite leader, Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, as she undertook yet another walkathon, smiling, waving and interacting with people.

Amid the raging controversy surrounding some of her party leaders allegedly caught in a sting operation while taking bribes, Banerjee has been undertaking processions across the city and the adjoining districts canvassing for her party ahead of the assembly polls.

Waiting anxiously for Banerjee to start her walk from Ballygunge, people of all ages waited patiently across the Sarat Bose and Ashutosh Mukherjee roads to catch a precious glimpse of her.

Sporting her usual saree and rubber sandals and flanked by party leaders — Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, Aroop Biswas and Firhad Hakim — Banerjee waved, smiled and greeted people with folded hands as thousands of party supporters followed her, waving party flags and chanting catchy slogans.

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Mobile cameras clicked incessantly, as men and women, young and old, came out in the streets or stood atop rooftops and balconies of their houses waving frantically, hoping to get a reciprocation from their ‘Didi’ (elder sister).

While the sappy and humid conditions seemed to take a toll on Chattopadhyay and Biswas, who found it difficult to keep pace with her, an unfazed Banerjee waved frantically flashing a wide smile.

Having a tough time controlling the huge crowd which jostled to get closer to the leader, security personnel had to face Banerjee’s chiding for pushing away the crowd.

“Don’t push like that,” said Banerjee after a security man shoved away a man trying to get close to her.

As soon as the procession entered Bhowanipore — her assembly constituency — innumerable heads and fluttering Trinamool flags met the eyes as far as one could see.

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Egging on the people to bring the Trinamool back to power again, party activists chanted catchy slogans as people standing across the roads joined in.

“This way or that way, Trinamool is the only way,” shouted the workers as chants of “Didi, Didi” reverberated all across.

Taking brief pauses, Banerjee also interacted with a few of the people and also petted a child who was waving a Trinamool flag.

While most of the people were delighted to catch Banerjee’s view, there were some who were peeved after being stuck in traffic due to the massive procession.

“What is the need for this show of strength? This rally has thrown the entire traffic out of gear and we don’t know when will we reach home,” said a commuter.

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