Trinamool’s Bhowanipore candidates from Ward 70 Asim Basu and Ward 73 Kajari Banerjee have formed special teams, comprising party members fluent in multiple languages, who have been visiting high-rises in cosmopolitan pockets to woo voters, many of whom are from other states but settled here for generations. Both Basu and Banerjee were instrumental in garnering votes from high-rises during the last Bhowanipore byeelection, where chief minister Mamata Banerjee won by a record margin. “The recent byeelection made the task easier for me. A majority of voters in my area live in high-rises and different families speak in different languages. I have sorted my team accordingly, and we are reaching out to each of them, speaking to them in their mother tongue,” said Basu.
Former councillor and Ward 101 Trinamool candidate Bappaditya Dasgupta took interactions with voters one notch higher, as he distrbuted among high-rise residents a four-page brochure, featuring news reports of development work carried out in his Patuli area in the past six years. “We don’t get the chance to interact with people living in gated complexes the way we talk to others. So, I have prepared a brochure with all the work done in the past six years in the area and giving it out at the indoor meetings inside the complexes,” said Dasgupta.
Ward 108 Trinamool candidate Sushanta Ghosh is opting for a more personalized interaction with senior members of residents’ associations off EM Bypass near Ruby Hospital, including Urbana. “There are restrictions on organising rallies or campaigns inside complexes. But they form a very important vote bank. So, we are holding small get-togethers and informal meetings inside complexes,” said Ghosh.
Ward 63 Trinamool candidate and two-time councillor Susmita Bhattacharya, who represents posh Park Street, Loudon Street, Rawdon Street and Wood Street, depend primarily on voters living in high-rises, who add up to12,000 members of the 19,000-odd residents in the area. “I am with them 365 days a year. They contact me whenever they feel comfortable—on streets, in parks or in markets. But still, I need to visit each and every residential building ahead of civic polls,” Bhattacharya said.
Sandipan Saha, who has been shifted from Janbazar to Tangra to contest the civic polls, is making extra effort to meet his new voters. “A considerable number of my voters in Tangra and surroundings live in apartments. I have been visiting them and introducing myself to them,” Saha said.
Anindya Routh, who represents a large part of the Ultadanga-Kankurgachhi belt, is trying to ensure no high-rise is left out, hoping for a comfortable win in the KMC polls.
BJP and Left leaders are also following the same trail. Ward118 BJP candidate Dipankar Banik has been visiting every house at Sahapur near New Alipore and knocking on every apartment, introducing himself and seeking votes. “That time is gone when elections could be won only banking on votes from slums. Today, every voter and every vote count,” said Banik.