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Mamata rally in Darjeeling

Siliguri, April 6: Mamata Banerjee will address a public meeting at Chowrasta in Darjeeling on April 13 to seek votes for Trinamul Congress candidate Bhaichung Bhutia, two days before the campaign closes.

“Our party chairperson will visit north Bengal from April 11 to 13 and attend a number of public meetings in the districts of North Dinajpur, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar. On April 13, she will address a public meeting at Chowrasta in Darjeeling,” minister Gautam Deb, who is also the north Bengal core committee chairman of Trinamul, said here today.

“We have been extensively campaigning across the hills and the public meeting by Mamata Banerjee at Chowrasta will help secure more votes for Bhaichung Bhutia. The meetings, planned at 1pm in Darjeeling and at 4pm in Siliguri on the same day, will bring in additional votes for Bhaichung. People in the hills want peace, development and democracy and only Trinamul can ensure these things,” he added.

Sources in Trinamul said the decision by Mamata to campaign in Darjeeling had been spurred by the GNLF’s announcement of support for Bhaichung.

“The GNLF’s support for Bhutia is one of the prime positive factors, which have led to our decision. Subash Ghisingh had announced the GNLF’s backing for Bhutia on Friday. Till then, Darjeeling was not included in Mamata’s itinerary for north Bengal and she was supposed to visit only Siliguri on April 13. The prospects of Bhutia’s win in Darjeeling have been boosted by the GNLF’s support. Our party and chairperson will prove once again to the hill residents that she is always with them, whether on development, law and order or elections,” a district Trinamul leader said on condition of anonymity.

The chief minister had visited the hills only once to campaign for Bhutia — she went up to Gorubathan in Kalimpong subdivision on March 26 to attend a Trinamul workers’ meeting.

The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, is also scheduled to address a meeting in support of party candidate, S.S. Ahluwalia, who is backed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, at Khaprail near Siliguri on April 10.

Deb said Trinamul Rajya Sabha MP and actor Mithun Chakraborty would accompany Mamata during her tour of north Bengal.

Mamata will hold public meetings in Dalkhola, Islampur and Chopra in North Dinajpur on April 11, and in Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Dinhata the next day.

“Further, actor Dev, who is contesting from Ghatal on a Trinamul ticket, will visit north Bengal on April 14 and 15. He will be accompanied by Mukul Roy and will speak at public meetings at Mathabhanga, Tufanganj and Jalpaiguri. The actor will also attend a road show in Siliguri on April 15,” said the minister.