April 27, 2014
On the campaign trail with… Kalyan Banerjee
Kalyan Banerjee, a renowned senior advocate is the sitting MP from Serampore constituency. His constituency is spread across parts of the districts of Howrah and Hooghly. Known as a person who `gets the works done` for his constituency, Mr Banerjee is an extremely popular figure in Serampore.
He had been the leading advocate during many legal battles to uphold the rights of common people – right from the case of Bikhari Paswan of Victoria Jute Mill to the Rizwanur Rahman murder case.
Arupratan Chakraborty from the Trinamool Web team had the opportunity to accompany the veteran leader on his campaign trail on April 23, 2014.
7:30 AM: Serampore, MP office of Kalyan Banerjee
Kalyan da, who had a very busy day yesterday is in his office, busy firing away dictations. Yesterday, the goons from Opposition parties had attacked his car in Jangipara. He would be filing complaints regarding the matter. Another very long and torturous day is in the waiting.
Kalyan Banerjee`s padayatra
8:30 AM: On the way to Bankra
Kalyan da has his phone ringing intermittently. He takes all calls, all of which are related to the day`s campaign programmes. In the meantime he switches on the tape recorder in the car and plays his newest campaign module, a CD containing songs. The specialty is that the lyrics of most of the songs have been penned by Ms. Mamata Banerjee.
State Irrigation Minister with Kalyan da
9:30 AM: Bankra More, Makardah Road
A padayatra is scheduled for the day. A crowd of more than thousand people is ready with banners and flags, wearing caps displaying their allegiance to the party. Rajib Banerjee, the State Irrigation Minister and MLA from Domjur joins Kalyan da and the rally starts. The 14 km padayatra passes through the by-lanes of the Bankra I, Bankra II and Bankra III blocks, covering Kazarpara, Paschimpara and Moihari Road.
Kalyan da addressing a meeting at Bankra
The temperature has shot up to 41 degrees. Surprisingly, while the fellow walkers are drained out of energies, Kalyan da says that he can walk for 2 more hours if required, despite the murderous heat. People from the adjoining houses, little children, even the women had come out from their kitchens to wave at Kalyan da and show their supports. Often during the padayatra, Kalyan da had stopped to listen to the elderly people.
Banners in support of Kalyan da
1:00 PM: Uttarpara
Kalyan da and his core team reach the Uttarpara office. A strategy meeting is held and discussions over the social media strategy are carried out. Kalyan da finalizes the pictures and videos to be uploaded on his campaign website and the content for ads on FM radio stations. Overall, he is quite happy with the way his campaign over internet is going on.
Kalyan da talking to the people
5: 20 PM: Meeting at Maytapur, Jagatballavpur
Thousands of people are already present at the venue; a group of teenagers were performing a play on stage. When Kalyan da gets up on the stage to deliver his speech, the crowd starts cheering. An inspiring speech follow; the response from the audience is stupendous. Right after the meeting Kalyan da leaves for Kanksarghat, where another meeting is scheduled.
People cheering for Kalyan Banerjee
6:25 PM: Kanksarghat, Nimabalia, Jagatballavpur
Abul Kasem Mollah, the MLA of Jagatballavpur was speaking on the stage when Kalyan da reached. The large open space was already filled up with more than two thousand people. Kalyan da, in his speech stresses on the work he has been doing for the past five years and highlights the work he has done for Jagatballavpur. The crowd applauds him before he starts for the next meeting.
Kalyan da at the meeting in Jagatballavpur
7:30 PM: Jhapardah Dakshin, Domjur Assembly constituency
The people of South Jhapardah have probably not seen such a turnout for a street corner meeting. Men and women patiently listen to Kalyan da as he lists out the achievements of the Trinamool Government in the Domjur Assembly segment. The speech is followed by a show of support by the audience.
Kalyan da at Domjur
9:00 PM: Katlia, on Makardah Road
Kalyan da is once again joined by the MLA of Jagatballavpur assembly segment, Abul Kasem Mollah. Together they slam the malicious campaign by Congress-BJP- CPI(M) and ask people to reject them in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The meeting ends at 9:30 PM and Kalyan da calls it a day. He heads back to Serampore, to prepare himself for the next day of campaigning.
The last rally of the day at Katlia
Images were taken by the author during the campaign trail.