India Today

COVERING ALL THE BASES

As the first two phases of the West Bengal assembly poll, covering 60 seats in West Midnapore, East Midnapore, Bankura, Jhargram, Purulia and South 24 Parganas, got over on April 1, the BJP claimed victory in no less than 50 seats. Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee cautiously refrained from making any prediction, or even affecting optimism beyond the victory sign she flashed while campaigning in Nandigram, where she is pitted against Suvendu Adhikari, who defected to the BJP in the run-up to the election.

However, for the next four rounds of polling, covering 163 seats, predominantly in South Bengal—the TMC won 122 seats from here in 2016—Mamata has struck a belligerent note against the BJP. No pleas for votes or apologies for ‘mistakes’ committed by TMC leaders; on the contrary, she is asking women to arm themselves with kitchen knives against “rogue BJP workers” and reminding people in the Muslim-dominated pockets of South 24 Parganas about riots under BJP rule.

GOING BEYOND RALLIES, MAMATA IS TRYING TO PUT A PERSONAL TOUCH TO HER

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