Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally in Kanthi Dakshin on Wednesday wasn't just an electoral event in the ongoing West Bengal Assembly polls, it was also a show of strength for the Adhikari clan.
Kanthi, the seat, is the turf of the Adhikaris who have thrown their weight behind the Bharatiya Janata Party in the ongoing electoral process, giving a big jolt to the incumbent Trinamool Congress.
It was a sight for the electorate as Sisir and Suvendu Adhikari stood alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi sending a clear message to supporters across Assembly constituencies that all of them are supporting the BJP.
While on stage, Prime Minister patted Suvendu on his back at least twice while shaking hands with Sisir.
Soumendhu Adhikari, another one from the clan, who had joined BJP according to leaders, was present backstage.
Conspicuous by his absence was Dibyendu Adhikari, TMC MP from Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency.
Suvendu Adhikari, former Minister in the Mamata Cabinet, had resigned a few months ago to join BJP and is a candidate contesting against the Chief Minister on the prestigious Nandigram Assembly seat.
Sisir Adhikari had also shared the stage with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on March 21 as he made a fervent appeal to support BJP, concluding his address with 'Jai Shree Ram', a slogan that has become synonymous with BJP.
Sisir Adhikari, MP from the Kanthi constituency has been representing this seat since 2009. He is a three-time MP. It was in 2001 that Sisir became MLA from Kanthi Dakshin.
The BJP candidate while addressing gathering from the stage asked people to defeat 'Begum' Mamata while chanting Jai Shri Ram.
While Sisir and Suvendu shared the stage or joined BJP, it was Tamluk MP Dibyendu Adhikari who remained absent. He remained tight-lipped about getting affiliated with the party.
Speaking to ANI, Dibyendu confirmed that he hasn't come to the rally.
Dibyendu Adhikari was MLA from 2009 to 2016 before winning Tamluk Lok Sabha, a seat vacated by his brother Suvendu.
Adhikari's have dominated East Medinipur for a few decades now. As the Adhikari clan patriarch Sisir Adhikari puts it- "my forefathers had been jailed fighting for the independence of this country".
Apart from yielding influence on their home turf East Medinipur, the Adhikari clan is reported to have organisational control over 20 to 30 seats of adjoint districts like West Medinipur, Jhargram and Bankura. Almost of the assemblies falling in these districts are going to vote in the first and second phase.
Elections to the 294-member state Assembly will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
(With ANI inputs)