Bengal candidates out with sweets, roses on 'Poila Boisakh' (Lead)
Kolkata, April 15 (IANS) From distributing sweets and roses to pedestrians, from praying at renowned temples to taking a boat ride in the Hooghly to connect with voters, many candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal added a new dimension to their campaign on Monday on the occasion of "Poila Boisakh", the Bengali New Year.
Political leaders, cutting across party lines, kick-started their campaigns on Monday by wishing people "shubho naba barsho" (Happy New Year in Bengali), exchanging pleasantries and distributing sweets among them.
Some leaders also took part in morning processions - called 'prabhat feri' in Bengali - followed by cultural programmes, organised in various localities in Kolkata and the suburbs.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee extended her greetings through a video message on social media and wished everyone happiness and prosperity on the joyous occasion.
She also went to south Kolkata's famous Kalighat temple on late Sunday night to offer her prayers.
Ruling Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha candidate from Serampore, Kalyan Banerjee, was seen distributing roses to the bus and auto-rickshaw drivers in his constituency in the morning.
"The people who are providing us service on special occasions like this, often do not get the opportunity to spend time with their families. They are serving us since morning. So I decided to give them roses as a token of our love and gratitude on the occasion of the new year," he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party's Jadavpur candidate Anupam Hazra also distributed flowers among the pedestrians and wished them well.
Kalyan Chowbey, the saffron party's candidate from Krishnagar, offered prayers at a famous temple in the area and distributed 'Prasad' among the supporters and party activists.
"The political scenario in Bengal has become violent. There is no security for innocent people. I prayed that people can stay peaceful and happy in this new year," said the former international footballer before plunging into his mass contact programme.
Shunning the usual door to door campaign on foot, state BJP Women Wing President Locket Chatterjee took a boat ride on the Hoogly along with party activists and waved at the supporters who gathered on both sides of the river.
"It is a new experience on a new year. I wish everyone well. People's support is with us. We are hoping to bring a new dawn in Bengal this new year," she added.