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'Soniaji is Rajivbaba's wife. I had to see her'

April 28, 2009

Indrani Roy Mitra traveled to the border town of Lalgola in Murshidabad district to witness a political rally that sealed the Trinamool-Congress alliance in the heart of the Left's bastion.

Congress heavyweights like party supremo Sonia Gandhi, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee along with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee addressed a rally at Lalgola, Murshidabad, on April 27.

Farida Bibi, 65, walked more than 35 km to take part in the rally in Lalgola. Even the sweltering heat and her sons' scoldings could not deter her.

"I had to come here. I had to see Soniaji. After all, she is my Rajivbaba's (Gandhi) wife," she told on Monday, brushing aside a tuft of sweat-soaked hair from her brow.

Once in her youth, she had missed the chance of being in one of Rajiv Gandhi's rallies. "They killed him soon after. I could never see him again," she recalled.

A die-hard follower of the Congress party, Farida Bibi feels the Congress-Trinamool alliance will do Bengal a world of good. "It's time Bengal had a viable Opposition," she said.

Asked what she feels would be the fate of the Left in the polls, pat came the reply, "They can't be defeated so easily. It's enough if the TMC-Congress alliance manages to pose a serious challenge."

And then casting a 'no more questions, please' look at me, she rushed to the crowd to take her position. After all, she was there to catch a glimpse of Soniaji.

Image: Mamata Banerjee with Sonia Gandhi at Lalgola in Murshidabad district in West Bengal.

Photograph: Jay Mandal/On Assignment

Also see: Sonia, Mamata come together after 8 years | India Votes