It was 3 p.m. on Friday. The waiting crowd of journalists jostled for space in front of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s residence at Kalighat in southern Kolkata under a hot afternoon sun and party supporters, smeared in green abir (powdered dye), were becoming restless as news of the Trinamool winning seats were pouring in.
Amidst all this, octogenarian Prabha Rani Sarkar was a picture of calm. “It doesn’t feel so hot today. Look, how breezy and pleasant it is. It’s because our daughter has won,” she said even as the mercury touched 39.8 degrees Celsius.
When news emerged that Ms. Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee had won from Diamond Harbour constituency, women supporters waiting near Ms. Banerjee’s residence blew conch shells and ululated while party activists rushed to congratulate him, armed with a garland.
“She [Ms. Banerjee] was bound to win. Look at the amount of work she has done for us in the city. She has worked equally hard in the rural areas as well. ,” said local resident Swapan Bhowmick.
The picture at Bidhan Bhavan, the party office of the Congress, was, however, the opposite. Laying the blame on the media for not addressing the issue of poll violence and instead harping on Ms. Banerjee’s victory, PCC president Adhir Ranjan Choudhury said debates were necessary on the multi-polar character of the State’s politics and the Left Front’s virtual decimation.