Is chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee being haunted by the spectre of a possible defeat? The question is becoming louder as he has confined himself to his own constituency, conducting 13 meetings since March 1 when the poll dates were announced.
According to party sources, he would address another eight meetings in Jadavpur, running up as many as 21 meetings in the 10 Kolkata Municipal Corporation wards that constitute his Assembly constituency.
The chief minister would also undertake a padayatra in Mamata Banerjee-style on Saturday. He has already participated in a road show on April 3.
In contrast, Bhattacharjee had addressed only six meetings before the 2006 polls, when the Left Front had won as many as 235 seats in the 294-seat Assembly constituency.
“The chief minister has consciously campaigned in other areas before the announcement of poll dates. After the restrictions on use of microphones are lifted this week, he would be campaigning in two or three adjacent constituencies,” said Mohammed Salim, CPI(M) central committee member.
In fact, Bhattacharjee is staying away from campaigning for any of the 45 constituencies that are going to polls in the first phase on April 18 in the north Bengal districts.
“Buddhada might scrape through. But it will surely not be cakewalk this time,” a local CPI(M) leader from Ganguly Bagan told HT on condition of anonymity. Bhattacharjee is pitted against the state’s former chief secretary Manish Gupta.
“This time, the battle seems to be really tough for the chief minister. It is evident from the frequent meetings and road shows in the area,” said Babu Mistri, a paan shop owner at Bagha Jatin.
Last week, Mamata Banerjee held one of her five padayatras through Raja Subodh Mallick Road, the arterial road that runs through Bhattacharjee's constituency and a mamoth crowd walked with her.