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Thousands throng to see Mamata walk to Writers' Building

Friday May 20, 2011 08:21:56 PM, IANS

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Kolkata: In scenes never before seen in the state, Mamata Banerjee Friday walked amid tens of thousands of commoners after after being sworn in as the eighth chief minister of West Bengal. She walked her way to the Writers' Building, the state secretariat, from Raj Bhavan the venue of the swearing-in ceremony.

In a sharp departure from practice - her predecessors of the Left Front era chose to go in a car from Raj Bhavan to the state secretariat about two kilometres away - the state's first woman chief minister walked the distance amid the swirling crowds after taking oath.

Thousands flooded the Netaji Subhas Bose Road as Banerjee continued her walkathon.

Atop the buildings the only thing visible was innumerable heads. People scrambled and jostled to get a glimpse of the leader who has been touted as the voice of the oppressed and the needy.

There was a near-stampede situation as people rushed to touch Banerjee's feet, to congratulate her, to shake her hands.

Police had a harrowing time controlling the crowds as they kept on swelling by every second. It was irrefutable evidence of the mass appeal of the charismatic leader.

Banerjee kept shaking and folding her hands, greeting the people.

She along with other Trinamool Congress leaders like Firhad Hakim and Partha Chaterjee also tried to manage the crowd, which had broken the barricades put by the police.

The security personnel were visibly anxious as Banerjee, unconcerned about her security, freely mingled with the people. Hundreds of banners and Trinamool flags fluttered as Banerjee walked on followed by her infinite swarm of admirers.

Banerjee started off at 4.10 p.m. and reached the secretariat at 4.45 p.m. On reaching, she garlanded former chief minister Bidhan Chandra Roy's bust.

Banerjee's black Santro that had been parked outside the Writers' Building also became the centre of attraction as hundreds touched the tyres of the car in reverence.

"This is not a car, it's a chariot. Didi has conquered the whole state riding this chariot. It's sacred for us," said Suman Batyabal who came from Tamluk in East Midnapore.





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