The Behala East constituency is set to witness a keen tussle for the ballot, where Trinamool Congress has fielded heavyweight Trinamool leader and mayor Sovan Chatterjee against three-time CPI(M) MLA Kumkum Chakraborty.
While Chakraborty can take heart from her margin of victory in the last assembly elections, she would be wary of a perceptive dent in the Left votebank in the last parliamentary polls. While the three-time CPI(M) MLA romped home by a whopping majority of 25,895 votes in the 2006 assembly polls, the tide turned in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections with Behala East essentially contributing to the victory of Kabir Suman, Trinamool's nominee from the Jadavpur parliamentary seat, opening out a yawning lead of 25,000 over CPI(M)'s Sujan Chakraborty.
Both the mayor and his political opponent are reaching out to the voters with a similar pledge of including Joka-1 and Joka 2, the two panchayats within the constituency, within the jurisdiction of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. Both are pledging their commitment to the cause should they be voted to power in the polls.
The mayor has claims to have been personally assured by Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee on the inclusion of the twin panchayats. "There is absolutely no infrastructure facility in Joka-1 and Joka-2, thereby illustrating the apparent necessity of its being included in the corporation. After the inclusion, our primary task would be the infrastructure development of Joka-1 and Joka 2," Chatterjee said.
Chakraborty is counting on aggressive door-to-door campaign to reach out to voters in her constituency.
The mayor is reportedly worried about the CPI(M) carrying out a smear campaign regarding his lavish lifestyle and substantial assets.
Chatterjee's other concern is sabotage by some local Trinamool leaders in Behala East. "Already, there is a rumour that Chatterjee might have to leave the post of mayor to MMiC (education) Sashi Panja, if he gets elected. Barring this, I do not think Chatterjee has anything to worry about," said a local Trinamool leader.