West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (PTI)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (PTI)

Mamata Banerjee to file her nomination today for Bhabanipur bye-elections

The Trinamool Congress chief, who took oath as the state’s chief minister on May 5, needs to win a bye-election before November 5 to retain the post
PUBLISHED ON SEP 10, 2021 09:16 AM IST

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will file her nomination for the bye-elections to the Bhabanipur assembly seat on Friday.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief, who took oath as the state’s chief minister on May 5, needs to win a bye-election before November 5 to retain the post. While the bye-elections are scheduled on September 30, the counting will be held on October 3.

Even though the TMC returned to power with a sweeping victory winning 213 of the 292 seats where polls were held in the recent assembly elections, Banerjee who had contested from Nandigram in Purba Medinipur lost by 1,956 votes to her protégé-turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari, who moved to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Election Commission of India on Saturday announced that it will hold elections and bye-elections in four constituencies in West Bengal and Odisha.

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“This election will be a challenge. This will be a big game ahead of the 2024 elections. After this game is over we will have to win the bye-elections in the remaining four assemblies. Then we will have to win the civic polls,” Banerjee said on Wednesday.

The TMC has already prepared a blue print for the election battle ahead. While veteran party leaders have been asked to take charge of the campaign in various civic wards of the constituency, councillors have been asked to spend more time in the wards. Party MP Mala Roy has been asked to consolidate the women votes. TMC leaders have been asked to ensure that all booth agents and counting agents are fully vaccinated.

Bhabanipur constituency has 206,389 electors, of which 95,143 are female voters, which comes to around 46%. It has a sizeable population of Sikhs and Gujaratis. However, the area is dominated by middle-class Bengalis.

The area lies in the heart of south Kolkata and was earlier a Congress stronghold. It later became a citadel of the Trinamool Congress as Banerjee’s house in Kalighat is located in this constituency. She won the assembly elections in 2011 and 2016 from Bhabanipur.

In the recently held assembly polls, veteran TMC leader Sovandeb Chatterjee contested the polls from Bhabanipur. He won by more than 28,000 votes but later vacated the seat so that Banerjee could contest from the seat to retain her post.

While the Congress has already decided not to field any candidate, the BJP’s unit in West Bengal has proposed six names from which the party’s top leadership in New Delhi is expected to choose one who will be fielded against the Trinamool Congress chief. The Left Front announced the name of advocate Srijib Biswas for the seat.

“We can assure that no election will be a cakewalk for the TMC. This election shouldn’t have happened because every day our leaders are coming under attack. On Wednesday morning, bombs were hurled at BJP MP Arjun Singh’s house. At Santipur in Nadia, a BJP MP and union minister of state Subhas Sarkar came under attack,” said Samik Bhattacharya, BJP’s spokesperson in the state.

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