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HOW THEY SPENT THEIR DAY

Surprise visit

Mamata Banerjee walks out of a booth at Mitra Institution in South Calcutta after casting her vote around 5pm on Monday.

The chief minister’s polling day ended at the party headquarters in Trinamul Bhavan, a venue usually left out of the Trinamul chief’s election itinerary.

She spent close to two hours in the office, talking to senior Trinamul leaders as an exit poll beamed on on the television screen.

“She has not been to Trinamul Bhavan for over a year.... Major announcements are made from her Harish Chatterjee Street residence. We were surprised to see her there,” a senior Trinamul leader said.

Mamata arrived at Trinamul Bhavan at 5.24pm and left two hours later. The chief minister skipped comments on the polling process or the possible outcome.

During the day, Mamata stayed at home, glued to her cellphone as she kept instructing party colleagues one after the other to find out how the polling was progressing in their area.

“She was monitoring the poll process since 9.30am. Mukulda (Trinamul all-India general secretary Mukul Roy) was at Trinamul Bhavan and kept Didi updated about the day’s developments...,” a Trinamul leader said.

Wait and blessings

Former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee comes out after voting on Monday.

The CPM politburo member turned up around 1.06pm to cast his vote at a booth in Patha Bhavan. The primary school on 13/1 Palm Avenue — a few metres from his south Calcutta residence — has been the address where Bhattacharjee has been casting his votes for decades. Over the years, the CPM veteran would turn up with his wife and daughter a little after noon, step into the designated booth and move out once the beeps were over.

It was different this time.

Bhattacharjee arrived ahead of his family and waited on the pathway leading to the classrooms.

Ora kokhon ashbey (When will they come),” Bhattacharjee asked about his wife and daughter to a security officer escorting him.

The CPM leader stood for some minutes in silence, when a woman in her thirties approached him.

Buddhababu nomoshkar. Bhalo aachen? (Are you fine),” she asked, before ordering her six-year-old son: “Onake pronan koro (Touch his feet)”.

The former chief minister smiled, pulled the boy close to him and blessed him.

Bhattacharjee’s wife Meera and their daughter Suchetana had arrived by then.