KOLKATA: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee intensified efforts to woo voters before campaigning for the second phase of the assembly poll ends in Nandigram on Tuesday evening.
Her campaign in the high-stakes constituency will begin at 11 am on Monday with an 8-kilometre roadshow from Khudiram More to Thakurchowk in Nandigram Block 2, followed by a public meeting in Jansabha Boyal II. Another one will take at 2 pm then at 3:30 pm in the Amdabad High School Ground.
Nandigram will witness the most high-profile contest of the state assembly elections with the Chief Minister taking on her former ministerial colleague Suvendu Adhikari, who had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in December last year.
Adhikari had earlier said that BJP will defeat Banerjee by over 50,000 votes from Nandigram.
The BJP will also be bringing in big names to counter the TMC's top leader. Senior BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah will take on Mamata in a massive roadshow in Nandigram on Tuesday to bat for Adhikari.
Bollywood star Mithun Chakraborty is also expected to conduct a roadshow in Nandigram ahead of polling.
PM Narendra Modi had addressed a public rally for Suvendu Adhikari earlier. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too had come to campaign in the constituency.
With rallies of Mamata planned for each day till the campaign ends, the Adhikari clan too has focussed its energy on ensuring that polling agents remain alert and that panna pramukhs bring out the voters on April 1.
The Adhikaris have been working on a strategy to not let the last leg of campaigning sway the voters towards her.
Sources in the BJP stated that the focus would remain on bringing voters to the polling stations while the candidates would be intensifying campaigning.
"It's all about that one day when polling happens. It is all that matters. So, if the Chief Minister campaigns and we do too, voters have largely made up their minds," said a senior BJP leader.
Adhikari, a former TMC leader, joined the BJP ahead of Assembly polls. Adhikari is a sitting MLA from Nandigram, a seat where Mamata Banerjee has decided to contest this time instead of Bhawanipur.
Meanwhile, the first phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections concluded with an estimated 79.79 per cent voter turnout on Saturday.
In the first phase, 30 seats covering all assembly constituencies from the districts of Purulia and Jhargram and a segment of Bankura, Purba Medinipur and Paschim Medinipur went to polls to decide on the electoral fate of 191 candidates, including 21 women.
Now the remaining seven phases for the 294-member West Bengal Assembly polls will be held on different dates with the final round of voting scheduled on April 29. Counting of votes will take place on May 2.