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March 25, 2014

On the campaign trail with… Dola Sen

On the campaign trail with… Dola Sen

Dola Sen, the State President of Trinamool labour wing INTTUC, has been fielded as a candidate for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Asansol. Primarily an industrial area, Ms. Sen has been using her experience as the INTTUC President to reach out to the people. With the guidance of Ms. Mamata Banerjee, and the blessings of the common people, Ms. Sen is confident of winning from Asansol with a handsome margin. Trinamool web team spent a day with Dola Sen during her campaign.

March 21, 2014. 6:30 AM

The Trinamool Congress candidate for the Asansol Constituency, Ms. Dola Sen and two of her aides leave for Ansansol from Kolkata. Ms. Sen had extensively campaigned extensively in her constituency for the last couple of weeks and was in the State capital for official purpose.

Three meetings already scheduled for the day are at Baraboni Assembly Constituency – Jamgram, Salanpur and Chittaranjan. Another hectic day ahead, but Ms. Sen is not bogged down because she has been holding at least three workers` meeting every day in her constituency since the announcement of the list of candidates of the party.

At AITC party office, Jubilee More, Asansol

10:30 AM – Durgapur City

Dola di, as we may call her now, quickly nibbles over her brunch. The menu – dal, rice, boiled smashed potatoes and curd – was all she would be having for the rest of her day.

11:40 AM, Workers` Meeting at Jamgram Panchayat, Baraboni

Gate at Jamgram, Baraboni
Held in a closed auditorium with a seating capacity for 600 people, the meeting witnessed party workers, mainly women, seating even on the floor. At least 1500 people attended the meeting where Dola di are, Mr Bidhan Upadhaya, MLA from Baraboni, the Working President of Bardhaman District Trinamool Congress Committee, Mr. V Sivadasan and other leaders were also present.
Dola di with Malay Ghatak in the workers` meeting at Jamgram, Baraboni

The message to the workers was load and clear – the margin of victory needs to be increased in Asansol. There are around 5000 villages, around 150 Municipal Wards, around 100 coallieries and 2300 booths in the Asansol constituency. Extensive door-to-door canvassing needs to done by the workers. Dola di pointed out that the Trinamool Government has been working for the development of common people.

3:00 PM – Salanpur Gram Panchayat, Baraboni Assembly segment

Dola Di speaking at the workers` meeting at Salanpur, Baraboni

The turnout is more than anticipated. The auditorium, which is built to house 1000 people has another thousand waiting outside to get in. Dola di and other leaders are welcomed to the beats of madol being played. Fifty per cent of the attendees are women, which goes on to show the support of women for the party. 

Dola di bonds effortlessly with the workers present. She drives home the point that as an individual she is insignificant; the electorate will vote for Ms. Mamata Banerjee, irrespective of who the other candidates are.
Dola Di speaking at the workers` meeting at Salanpur, Baraboni

5:30 PM – Chittaranjan Rail Colony, Baraboni Assembly segment

A little girl performs baran on Dola di before a meeting

Contrary to expectations the turnout at the meeting was in hundreds; a lot more than what one would expect at a railway colony for a workers` meeting. Dola di was overwhelmed. She highlighted Mamata Banerjee`s achievements as the Railway Minister before the audience. In her speech, Dola di said this time the vote would either be cast in favour of Mamata Banerjee or against her. Pro-people votes would be in favour of Didi while anti-people votes would go to other parties.

Dola di at Chittaranjan workers` meeting

8:30 PM – Rahamatnagar, Asansol City

After a brief inspection of the election office at SG Garai Road, Dola di makes a move towards Rahamatnagar where the meeting with the minority community is scheduled. Local leaders and MLAs were present at the meeting. The front rows are filled with `buzurgs`, the older generation of the Muslim community. Majority of the crowd consists of Muslim women. 

Dola di at the workers` meeting at Rahamatnagar, Asansol
In her speech, Dola di highlights the initiatives by West Bengal Government for the minority community and how zealously the Trinamool Congress led Ma, Mati, Manush Government has implemented the Sachar Committee recommendations. She ends on a personal note by saying that Mamata Banerjee has never identified Muslims as belonging to a different religion but viewed them as human beings.

11:00 PM – Durgapur City

It is time for another strategy meeting, the final one at the end of a very hectic schedule. Another interview to a leading Bengali newspaper and Dola di calls it a day. A quick look at the emails and messages she has received throughout the day, and off she is to rest, and of course prepare for a fresh round of campaigning the next day.

Dola di pays floral tribute to Manik Upadhyay