Monday, 30th October 2017

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Kalighat street wears deserted look

Mamata didn’t step out of her home

By Subhajoy Roy in Calcutta
  • Published 24.05.19, 3:03 AM
  • Updated 24.05.19, 3:03 AM
  • 2 mins read
Mamata Banerjee Telegraph file picture

The police barricades were in place on Harish Chatterjee Street since Thursday morning but there were not many people trying to sneak through them.

Over the past decade, Harish Chatterjee Street had thousands of Trinamul supporters on result day, trying to get close to Mamata Banerjee’s home or catch the attention of a senior leader.

Thursday was different.

Police officers and journalists were the only non-residents on the road that leads to Bengal’s most famous residential address: 30B Harish Chatterjee Street.

A Trinamul supporter who danced on the street after the 2016 Assembly results said people had then come with green abir, drums and new slogans.

“The black asphalt road had turned green as people sprinkled the abir on colleagues and threw it in the air,” he said.

On Thursday, only one small rally of any significance was held in the area.

That one came after it became clear that Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee would retain Diamond Harbour.

Rest of the day, there were few slogans.

The man selling Trinamul accessories like caps and brooches did not look happy.

Rakhal Das, a resident of South 24-Parganas’ Subhasgram, about 30km from Calcutta, waited with his wares near the Kalighat bridge hoping that Trinamul supporters would throng the place and he would do a good business. “I had come hoping for great business. Not this,” he said looking at a near deserted road.

Mamata didn’t step out of her home.

In the afternoon, she tweeted: “Congratulations to the winners. But all losers are not losers. We have to do a complete review and then we will share our views with you all. Let the counting process be completed fully and the VVPATs matched.”

A handful of leaders visited her home. Among them was Calcutta mayor Firhad Hakim, who entered around 3pm and left around 4.30pm. Hakim smiled and didn’t say anything when reporters tried to talk to him.

Two or three two-wheelers with Trinamul flags came to the street after long gaps but police turned them away towards the main road.

A few that managed to go near Mamata’s home were asked to fold the party flags. These supporters left immediately after police intervened.

Around 4.30pm, the police personnel guarding the road and Mamata’s home told the waiting journalists that the chief minister would not address the media on Thursday.

“This is probably the first time Mamata didn’t hold a news conference on the day of election results since she came in power in Bengal,” said a local resident.

As the journalists left, a silence wrapped the street. One could see at least 400m inside Harish Chatterjee Street from its crossing with Judges Court Road because it was so deserted that seeing a long distance was no longer difficult.