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Thunder on Twitter, toil on train

The pictures on the left (that of CPM leaders Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat) were posted on the Twitter handle @cpimspeak on Wednesday. Such personality-driven campaigns are atypical in communist parties, although Assembly election posters feature photographs of party icons such as EMS and Jyoti Basu and the local leader who is spearheading the particular poll battle.

In Barrackpore, a more traditional — and demanding — form of campaigning was underway on Wednesday. Subhashini Ali, the CPM candidate from Barrackpore, boarded a local train to interact with voters in her constituency. Subhashini arrived at Barrackpore station in North 24-Parganas around 8am and spent nearly an hour talking to commuters waiting for trains. Around 8.30am, she boarded a train and went to Naihati, a 30-minute ride from Barrackpore, and then boarded another train to go to Halishahar.

“I am used to travelling by local trains in Mumbai and have also commuted in the Metro in Calcutta.... The response from the passengers was amazing. Usually, the early morning passengers avoid talking to people and are in a hurry. Here I found people coming up to me, shaking hands, chatting and some of them also shouted slogans,” said Subhashini, a former CPM MP from Kanpur.

Pitted against former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi of Trinamul, Subhashini did have complaints against the railways. “Bengal has had four railway ministers in the recent past, but the frequency is so poor, people have to wait for so long. The condition of carriages is also very bad. At least that could have been improved,” she said.

On Sunday, like the Karats, Subhashini will hit social media. The candidate will have a two-hour interaction with her Facebook friends staying in the Barrackpore constituency.

Picture by Bibhash Lodh