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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

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CPI(M) aims at reducing defeat margin against Mamta Banerjee
First Published: 12:08 IST(3/5/2004)
Last Updated: 12:08 IST(3/5/2004)

With four back to back wins, Bengal's anti-left voice, Mamata Banerjee is sitting pretty in the coveted South Calcutta Lok Sabha seat leaving CPI(M) to aim for just reducing her margin of victory in a triangular contest that also has a dash of glamour in a former beauty queen fielded by the Congress.

Though a number of highrises and the influx of the affluent have altered the demography of the constituency in recent times, for the Nationalist Trinamool Congress chief, nothing seems to have changed -- neither the earthy style of campaigning, nor the issues she held dear in the last Lok Sabha elections, not even her crowd-pulling prowess.

But CPI(M)'s popular leader Robin Deb, who succeeds party's intellectual candidates Bharati Mukherjee and Subhankar Chakraborty as also former Mayor Prashanta Sur in fighting Banerjee from this constituency, is hoping to make a dent in her dedicated vote bank by cashing in on her inconsistent ties with the NDA.

Trinamool's top-rung leaders like Pankaj Banerjee, Subrato Mukherjee, Sougata Ray and Shobhan Deb Chatterjee hold fort in six of the seven assembly constituencies that make up the South Calcutta Lok Sabha seat, but Deb, the sitting MLA of Ballygunge, is working towards regaining ground at Sonarpur, a traditional CPI(M) stronghold, which the party had lost to the Trinamool in the last elections.

As for debutante Nafisa Ali, whose claim to fame is a Miss India crown, a national swimming title and numerous page three articles, poll observors are granting her a section of the Muslim and affluent class votes, but Congress' poor organisational base in the constituency could prove to be a dampener.


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