In TMC’s heartland, party battles anti-incumbency in 7th phase polls
Eight of the nine seats voting on May 19 have been with the Trinamool Congress since 2009.Updated: May 18, 2019 19:35 IST
In the home stretch of the general elections in Bengal, 14.91 million voters in nine constituencies in and around Kolkata will vote on Sunday in the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha polls to choose from 111 candidates.
The nine seats - Kolkata North, Kolkata South, Dumdum, Basirhat, Barasat, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, Joynagar and Mathurapur - are in Trinamool Congress (TMC)’s heartland of Kolkata and its neighbouring districts of North 24-Parganas and South 24-Parganas.
Several heavyweights, including chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, TMC’s leader in the 16thLok Sabha Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national secretary Rahul Sinha are in the fray, along with TMC’s political greenhorns, actor-turned politicians Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan.
Eight of the seats have been with the TMC since 2009. Joynagar went to a TMC-backed Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) candidate in 2009, while in 2014 TMC won it.
“Though this is TMC’s heartland, there is a wind of anti-incumbency and this is going to make TMC’s battle a real difficult one,” said political analyst Amal Mukhopadhyay, former principal of Presidency College.
To ensure peaceful and fair polling, the Election Commission has deployed 770 companies of central forces to provide security to all 17,042 polling stations.
In Diamond Harbour, from where Abhishek Banerjee is seeking his second term, BJP has fielded Nilanjan Roy, who switched from Congress to BJP last year. CPI(M)’s Fuad Halim, son of former Bengal Assembly speaker Hashim Abdul Halim, has received support from a section of civil society members. Actor Naseeruddin Shah, too, released a video statement supporting Halim’s candidature.
The focus will also be on Kolkata North seat, where TMC’s leader in the outgoing Lok Sabha and sitting MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay is seeking his third term. Bandyopadhyay’s main challenger is BJP’s national secretary Rahul Sinha. The TMC MP spent 136 days behind bars after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested him in connection with the Rose Valley chit fund scam in January 2017.
In Dumdum, TMC’s two-time MP Sougata Roy, who was one of the accused in the Narada bribery expose of March 2016, is seeking re-election. BJP’s state unit spokesperson and former MLA Shamik Bhattacharya is his main opponent. The CPI(M) has fielded veteran leader Nepaldeb Bhattacharya.
In the high-profile Jadavpur constituency, the stage is set for a triangular fight. The TMC has fielded a political greenhorn, Bengali film industry star Mimi Chakraborty while the BJP has nominated Anupam Hazra (TMC’s Bolpur MP who switched to BJP in March. Former Kolkata Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya is the CPI (M) candidate. The Congress is supporting Bhattacharya.
Winning Kolkata South is a matter of prestige for TMC, as Mamata Banerjee got elected from it for six times at a stretch until becoming the chief minister and since then it has been represented by her confidante Subrata Bakshi. In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, when TMC was almost wiped out of Bengal, this was the only seat that the party won.
The party has this year fielded veteran Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) corporator Mala Roy, while BJP has fielded Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose, who is also a vice-president of the party’s state unit.
”The sitting MP, Subrata Bakshi, had only 24% attendance in Lok Sabha. TMC has evidently taken the voters of Kolkata South for granted. I have told the voters that I will shout in the Parliament for the voters at every opportunity,” Bose said.
In Basirhat, BJP’s state unit general secretary Sayantan Basu is taking on TMC’s political greenhorn, Bengali film industry actor Nusrat Jahan. In this Muslim-dominated constituency along the Bangladesh border, the BJP hopes to win by polarisation of Hindu votes, whereas Muslim votes are expected to be split between the TMC, the Left and the Congress.
BJP’s Barasat candidate Mrinal Kanti Debnath, a doctor and Hindu refugee rights activist, is expected to throw a tough challenge to TMC’s Kakali Ghosh Dastidar.
Joynagar and Mathurapur seats that cover parts of the Sunderbans are TMC’s strongholds but BJP hopes to spring surprises in both, focussing its campaign mostly on under-development of the area and problems of infiltration from Bangladesh.
“Infiltration is a burning issue in Bengal and it is more so in the North and South 24-Parganas seats bordering Bangladesh,” said Sayantan Basu, BJP’s Basirhat candidate.
TMC’s North 24-Parganas district unit president and food minister Jyotipriya Mallick, on the other hand, has claimed that the party will win Basirhat and Barasat with margins of more than one lakh votes.
|Arrah||Rajkumar Singh, BJP|
|Buxar||Ashwini Kumar Choubey, BJP|
|Sasaram||Chhedi Paswan, BJP|
|Karakat||Upendra Kushwaha, RLSP|
|Jahanabad||Arun Kumar, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party|
|Nalanda||Kaushalendra Kumar, JD(U)|
|Patna Sahib||Shatrughan Sinha, BJP (now with Congress)|
|Patliputra||Ram Kripal Yadav, BJP|
|Amritsar:||Gurjeet Singh Aujla, Congress|
|Anandpur Sahib||Prem Singh Chandumajra, SAD|
|Bathinda||Harsimrat Kaur, SAD|
|Faridkot (SC)||Sadhu Singh, AAP|
|Fatehgarh Sahib (SC)||Harinder Singh Khalsa, AAP|
|Ferozepur||Sher Singh Ghubaya, SAD|
|Gurdaspur||Sunil Jakhar, Congress|
|Hoshiarpur (SC)||Vijay Sampla, BJP|
|Jalandhar (SC)||Santokh Singh Chaudhary, Congress|
|Khadoor Sahib||Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, SAD (SAD-Taksali)|
|Ludhiana||Ravneet Singh Bittu, Congress|
|Patiala||Dharamvira Gandhi, AAP|
|Sangrur||Bhagwant Mann, AAP|
|Chandigarh||Kirron Kher, BJP|
|Kangra||Shanta Kumar, BJP|
|Hamirpur||Anurag Thakur, BJP|
|Mandi||Ramswaroop Sharma, BJP|
|Shimla||Virender Kashyap, BJP|
|Godda||Nishikant Dubey, BJP|
|Dumka||Shibu Soren, JMM|
|Rajmahal||Vijay Hansdak, JM|
|Ballia||Bharat Singh, BJP|
|Bansgaon||Kamlesh Paswan, BJP|
|Chandauli||Mahendra Nath Pandey, BJP|
|Deoria||Kalraj Mishra, BJP|
|Ghazipur||Manoj Sinha, BJP|
|Ghosi||Harinarayan Rajbhar, BJP|
|Gorakhpur||Praveen Kumar Nishad, SP|
|Kushi Nagar||Rajesh Pandey, BJP|
|Salempur||Ravindra Kushwaha, BJP|
|Varanasi||Narendra Modi, BJP|
|Mirzapur||Anupriya Patel, Apna Dal|
|Maharajganj||Pankaj Chaudhary, BJP|
|MADHYA PRADESH (8)|
|Dewas||Manohar Untwal, BJP|
|Dhar||Savitri Thakur, BJP|
|Indore||Sumitra Mahajan (BJP)|
|Khandwa||Nandkumar Singh Chouhan (BJP)|
|Khargone||Subhash Patel, BJP|
|Mandsaur||Sudhir Gupta, BJP|
|Ratlam||Kantilal Bhuria, Congress|
|Ujjain||Prof Chintamani Malviya, BJP|
|Barasat||Kakali Ghosh Dastidar, Trinamool|
|Basirhat||Idris Ali, Trinamool Congress|
|Joynagar||Pratima Mondal, Trinamool Congress|
|Mathurapur||Choudhury Mohan Jatua, Trinamool Congress|
|Diamond Harbour||Abhishek Banerjee, Trinamool Congress|
|Kolkata South||Subrata Bakshi, Trinamool Congress|
|Jadavpur||Sugata Bose, Trinamool Congress|
|Kolkata North||Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Trinamool Congress|
|Dumdum||Saugata Roy, Trinamool Congress|