Modi, Mamata lead colourful road shows in Kolkata amid cheering crowd

PTI, May 29, 2024, 8:10 AM IST

Credit: PTI

Kolkata: Kolkata on Tuesday was witness to multiple high-octane and colourful road shows by top leaders, one by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and two such by Mamata Banerjee, his arch-political rival in West Bengal, even as campaign frenzy reached its zenith ahead of the last phase of Lok Sabha elections.

In his first ever road show in Kolkata, PM Modi led a vibrant cavalcade from the base of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s statue at Shyambazar Five Point Crossing that terminated at the ancestral residence of Swami Vivekananda on Simla Street in North Kolkata, with people gathering in impressive numbers to greet the leader en route.

The political extravaganza was organized in support of BJP candidate from the Kolkata Uttar seat, Tapas Roy, and his counterpart from the Dum Dum constituency in the northern fringes of the city, Silbhadra Dutta.

Ahead of the event, the PM visited Maa Sarada’s residence at Bagbazar and paid homage to the Holy Mother who was the spiritual consort to the 19th Century Hindu mystic Ramakrishna Paramhansa.

Modi also paid his tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at his landmark statue at Shyambazar before starting his road show.

Accompanying the PM were prominent state BJP leaders Sukanta Majumdar and Suvendu Adhikari, who were seen standing on both sides of the PM in his open-hooded vehicle.

The road show began at around 7:10 pm and slow-moving vehicles took about an hour and a half to cover a distance of a little over two kilometres to reach their destination at Vivekananda’s residence where he paid homage to the spiritual leader.

Modi stood atop a decorated vehicle, resplendent in saffron hues and adorned with flowers, images of the PM and BJP’s election symbol, the lotus.

As the convoy made its way through the bustling streets, Modi waved at the crowd, which gathered on both sides of the barricaded Bidhan Sarani. At various points in the route, the PM greeted people with folded hands.

Women supporters, dressed in saffron saris, also participated in the colourful procession.

Chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar’ reverberated in the air as the vehicle passed by, with many onlookers capturing the event on their mobile phones.

Houses along the route were brightly lit and decorated with flowers, creating a festival-like atmosphere, amid the blowing of conch shells and chanting of hymns.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held two road shows in support of Trinamool Congress candidates in Dum Dum and the two Kolkata seats, covering on foot nearly nine kilometres on a sultry afternoon.

Both shows registered a significant turnout of people even as Banerjee, during her characteristic brisk walk, greeted them with folded hands and, at times, even reached out to the excited crowd waiting on roadsides behind security cordons.

In the first road show, the TMC supremo walked from Birati Banik More to Airport gate number two on Jessore Road, a distance of nearly four kilometres, along with party leaders and workers.

The road show in Dum Dum Lok Sabha constituency was held in support of the TMC’s veteran leader and candidate Saugata Roy, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term from the seat.

Apart from Roy, ministers Sujit Bose and Chandrima Bhattacharya also accompanied Banerjee in Dum Dum, while in south Kolkata, city mayor and minister Firhad Hakim walked along with her.

In the second road show, Banerjee walked from Entally Market in the northern part of the city and to Ballygunge Phari in south Kolkata, nearly five kilometers away.

This rally was organized in support of TMC’s Kolkata Dakshin candidate Mala Roy, who is seeking a second term from the constituency, and Kolkata Uttar candidate Sudip Bandyopadhyay, fighting for a straight third term from the seat.

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