Pitted against Trinamool Congress candidate Sujit Bose, CPI(M) candidate Palash Das from Bidhannagar assembly constituency is out to set things right against all odds.
Das is contesting the assembly elections for the first time, though contesting a poll is not new for him. He is already a CPI(M) councillor from ward number 31 of South Dum Dum.
Das appeared confident when he spent some time with this correspondent while taking a break amid campaigning. "My strategy is simple. I am creating personal contact with people with the help of door-to-door campaigning. Our target was to visit every family four times and I am done with three rounds already," said Das. "We also held small meetings with a cross section of people ranging from teachers to bus drivers and local residents. Separate meetings with women and young voters were also conducted and the response we got was terrific," he said.
The Bidhannagar constituency was part of Belgachia East constituency, from where CPI(M) leader and former state transport minister Subhash Chakraborty was elected seven times in a row from 1977 to 2006. In 2006 Chakraborty won by a margin of only 1,749 votes. But after his death, his wife Ramola Chakraborty could not hold on to the seat during the by-elections. Sujit Bose won by a margin of 28,260 votes.
The Belgachia East constituency does not exist anymore after delimitation, but a major portion of the erstwhile constituency is now part of Bidhannagar constituency.
"The constituency has become much smaller and therefore I don't expect to win by a margin of 28,260 votes but the percentage of winning margin will be the same. Last time total number of voters were around 3 lakh but this time the number has come down to 2 lakh. Naturally the margin will come down," said Trinamool Congress candidate Bose. "They have done nothing all these years. Have you seen the condition of residents in Duttabad? (Duttabad is a place in Bidhannagar where people live in shanties). A lot of things could have been done there. People will vote for me after judging my work," said Bose.
After delimitation, the Bidhannagar assembly constituency was included in Barasat parliamentary constituency and Trinamool Congress candidate
Kakali Ghosh Dastidar, who won by a margin of 1,22,901 votes, had got 64,145 votes from Bidhannagar, while Forward Bloc candidate Sudin Chattopadhyay got 53,459. Trinamool led the margin by 10,686.
But Das feels that a lot of things have changed. "The situation has changed since then. In 2009 people did not vote for the Trinamool Congress or Mamata Banerjee. People had then voted against the Left. Since then people have also seen the deteriorating condition of the area. The incidents that happened within this period have created a doubt in the mind of the people. As a result people have started coming back to us since the past four to five months," he said.
While Bose is relying on the work he has done in the area, Das is depending on the new wards that have been added to the Bidhannagar constituency after delimitation.