His august presence may no longer be felt in the corridors of the state secretariat, but the legacy of Left patriarch and the nation's longest serving chief minister Jyoti Basu continues to live on in the minds of scores of loyalists and locals in his constituency Satgachhia.
The former chief minister first contested the Satgachhia assembly seat back in 1977; the year Left Front first came to power in the state, and his uninterrupted candidature from the seat he made his own continued till the year 1996. Basu contested against Chittaranjan Bag of the Congress in 1996 and won by a margin of around 11,110 votes.
However, in the assembly elections of 2001, Basu vacated the seat in favour of Gokul Bairagi. But the decision eventually cost the Left dear as Bairagi failed to pass muster with the voters and lost the seat to Trinamool Congress's Sonali Guha by a margin of 16,011 votes. Guha returned a similar mandate in the assembly elections of 2006 and is contesting this seat for the third time this year.
"Despite being elected an MLA from this seat and serving as the chief minister for more than two decades, Jyoti Basu did precious little to ensure development of the constituency," said Guha. She further claimed that since being elected an MLA and serving two terms, she has undertaken a host of developmental initiatives here.
However Barun Naskar, the CPI(M)'s poll nominee, said that Basu's legacy continues to live on and the locals here continue to regard him as the towering stalwart. "People of Satgachhia are proud of their beloved leader, who went on to lead the longest running coalition in the country. Basu is very much alive in the thoughts and memories of the people here," said Naskar.
However, the seat has been lent a new dimension post delimitation. As per the territorial realignments following delimitation, the assembly segment comprises 11 panchayats of Bishnupur and seven panchayats of Budge Budge block 2. Dongaria, which is home to the biggest arsenic free water reservoir and refinery, has also been inducted into the constituency.