Still firmly in campaign mode – there are still five rounds of polling left in Bengal – Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday had lunch at the house of a rickshaw puller in Domjur in Howrah district.
Mr Shah – who has made eating meals at the homes of Bengal voters a campaign tactic – was joined by Rajib Banerjee, the party’s candidate for the constituency.
Domjur votes in the fourth phase of the election – April 10.
“I visited only one gram panchayat but, with the enthusiasm I saw, I am confident that Rajib Banerjee will win with a majority,” Mr Shah was quoted by ANI, adding, “Her (Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee) frustration can be seen in her speeches and behaviour”.
Visuals shared by ANI show Mr Shah sitting cross-legged on the floor, with a small cloth-covered wooden table holding a plate of food – some rice, dal, vegetables and assorted side-dishes.
The walls around Mr Shah are covered with colourful, floor-length drapes.
Domjur: Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah has lunch at the residence of a rickshaw puller who is also a BJP supporter. Rajib Banerjee, party’s candidate from the constituency also present. #WestBengalpic.twitter.com/het96CYWnz
— ANI (@ANI) April 7, 2021
Three of Bengal’s eight poll phases have been completed.
The election campaign – a straight fight between Ms Banerjee’s ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP – has been exceptionally crass and vitriolic, with corruption claims and personal attacks freely traded by both sides. The two parties have also accused each other of manipulating voters and polling booths, and sponsoring violence against each other.
Mr Shah’s lunch visit today was a repeat of his visits to the home of a “Baul” singer (sufi genre folk music of Bengal) in Santiniketan, and a farmer in Paschim Medinipur district in December last year.
In November he had lunch at the residence of a tribal BJP worker in Bankura, and the house of a member of the Matua community – whose votes could be crucial – in North 24 Parganas.
Bengal has four more voting days – April 10, 17, 22, 26 and 29 – before votes are counted on May 2.
With input from ANI