Electoral fight too close to call in Mamata’s Bhawanipur
The electoral fight in West Bengal’s Bhawanipur, the incumbent chief minister’s home turf, will be interesting as defeating Mamata in Bhawanipur would be unthinkable just a couple of years ago.West Bengal 2016 Updated: Apr 28, 2016 17:41 IST
It won’t be easy for even veteran psephologists to predict who will emerge triumphant in the electoral fight in West Bengal’s Bhawanipur, the incumbent chief minister’s home turf.
The BJP, TMC and Congress are leaving no stone unturned to grab eyeballs. Their festoons and banners are ubiquitous in the constituency, and it isn’t any easier to say who is winning the advertising race either.
“I had no interest in contesting the assembly elections. I’m in the fray only because I have been asked to take on the CM,” said Deepa Dasmunsi, former Union minister and the Left-supported Congress candidate.
For someone who earlier wasn’t interested, Dasmunsi is doing a top-notch job crisscrossing the constituency on her campaign trail. Senior leaders of the Left-Congress alliance too have campaigned for her.
Not to be outdone, the BJP has brought out its big guns. Star campaigners, including Amit Shah, Uma Bharti and Paresh Rawal are campaigning for Chandra Kumar Bose, freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose’s grand nephew. PM Modi too shared the dais with Bose on an occasion. “[But] Mamata obviously has an edge over other candidates but it’s difficult to simply close your eyes and predict the result this time,” said Shankar Mondal, a tea stall owner at Kalighat.
Defeating Mamata in Bhawanipur would be unthinkable just a couple of years ago. Since 1991, she has won from the South Kolkata Lok Sabha seat six times on a trot and it was only in 2004 that her winning margin was less than one lakh votes. No one imagined until 2014 that of the safest seats for the TMC in Bengal could make Mamata sweat bullets.
“The Lok Sabha elections have shown that people of Bhawanipur wanted change. It’ll be reflected in a clearer way this elections,” said Bose referring to BJP’s lead of 185 votes over TMC in 2014.
However, going by last year’s civic polls, TMC has an edge over the opposition. It won six of eight wards with 57,888 votes in 2015.
TMC’s former bastion
Total voters: 2.02 lakh
Profile of residents: Service holders and small/medium traders mostly
Communities: Bengalis, Marwaris, Gujaratis, Sikhs and Biharis
Polling stations: 269