As the giant LCD screen mounted at one of the busiest street intersections in the central part of the city came to life on Friday afternoon showing a short documentary on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's political journey so far, thrill and excitement were already palpable in the air with the large assembled crowd cheering and applauding hard.
Ten more minutes were left before the clock struck 1.01 p.m. when Ms. Banerjee was scheduled to be sworn in as the first woman Chief Minister of West Bengal but the festive mood amongst her countless supporters had already set in at the venue.
With entry to the swearing-in ceremony out of bounds to them, hundreds trooped in before 40 similar giant screens put up at 28 different important locations across the city on the day to watch the live proceedings of their leader taking oath as the Chief Minister.
A wave of exhilaration swept the crowd the moment live video from the swearing-in ceremony flashed on the giant screen and a smiling Ms. Banerjee was seen taking to the dais to take the oath.
Slogans of “Mamata Banerjee zindabad” and “Trinamool Congress zindabad” ranted the air while several of her supporters waved giant tricolour flags. Many in the crowd tried to capture the moment through their mobile phone cameras.
So soaked was the massive crowd in the proceedings that a few brief moments of signal failure made them let out a collective sigh of anxiety and anguish.
Tears glistened in the eyes of 76-year-old Nitai Chandra Bhar — a resident of Simultala in the State's South 24 Parganas district — who had chosen to witness the “historic moment” along with others under the merciless midday sun rather than watching it on television screen in the cooling comforts of his home.
“I have admired Ms. Banerjee from the very initial days of her in politics for her never-say-die image. I am happy that I could witness the change she promised in my lifetime and will expect her to fulfil all her promises now,” Mr. Bhar said.
Loud cheers and applauses came forth as Trinamool Congress MLAs who defeated heavy-weight Left Front candidates like former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, former Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta and former Housing Minister Goutam Deb were sworn in.
A little distance away, four giant screens were mounted on the expansive Shahid Minar grounds. Motley groups assembled before each of the screens under the blazing heat and unpleasant humidity.
Middle-aged Mohammed Yasin who paints houses to eke out a living admitted that he had lied to his family about going to work for coming down to the Shahid Minar grounds to witness the ceremony.
“I only know Ms. Banerjee and her party symbol. I do not even know the name of the Trinamool Congress candidate who has won from my area. I just pressed the button beside the Trinamool Congress symbol on the election day,” Mr. Yasin grinned as he spoke.