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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.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 18, 2019 19:35 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Lok Sabha elections 2019,General elections 2019,Election news
Eight of the nine seats going to polls on May 19 have been with the TMC since 2009. (PTI file photo)

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.

Read: Full coverage of Lok Sabha elections 2019

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.

Read: Mathurapur was once a Left bastion

”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.

BIHAR
ArrahRajkumar Singh, BJP
BuxarAshwini Kumar Choubey, BJP
SasaramChhedi Paswan, BJP
KarakatUpendra Kushwaha, RLSP
JahanabadArun Kumar, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party
NalandaKaushalendra Kumar, JD(U)
Patna SahibShatrughan Sinha, BJP (now with Congress)
PatliputraRam Kripal Yadav, BJP
PUNJAB
Amritsar:Gurjeet Singh Aujla, Congress
Anandpur SahibPrem Singh Chandumajra, SAD
BathindaHarsimrat Kaur, SAD
Faridkot (SC)Sadhu Singh, AAP
Fatehgarh Sahib (SC)Harinder Singh Khalsa, AAP
FerozepurSher Singh Ghubaya, SAD
GurdaspurSunil Jakhar, Congress
Hoshiarpur (SC)Vijay Sampla, BJP
Jalandhar (SC)Santokh Singh Chaudhary, Congress
Khadoor SahibRanjit Singh Brahmpura, SAD (SAD-Taksali)
LudhianaRavneet Singh Bittu, Congress
PatialaDharamvira Gandhi, AAP
SangrurBhagwant Mann, AAP
CHANDIGARH
ChandigarhKirron Kher, BJP
HIMACHAL PRADESH
KangraShanta Kumar, BJP
HamirpurAnurag Thakur, BJP
MandiRamswaroop Sharma, BJP
ShimlaVirender Kashyap, BJP
JHARKHAND
GoddaNishikant Dubey, BJP
DumkaShibu Soren, JMM
RajmahalVijay Hansdak, JM
UTTAR PRADESH
BalliaBharat Singh, BJP
BansgaonKamlesh Paswan, BJP
ChandauliMahendra Nath Pandey, BJP
DeoriaKalraj Mishra, BJP
GhazipurManoj Sinha, BJP
GhosiHarinarayan Rajbhar, BJP
GorakhpurPraveen Kumar Nishad, SP
Kushi NagarRajesh Pandey, BJP
RobertsganjChhotelal, BJP
SalempurRavindra Kushwaha, BJP
VaranasiNarendra Modi, BJP
MirzapurAnupriya Patel, Apna Dal
MaharajganjPankaj Chaudhary, BJP
MADHYA PRADESH (8)
DewasManohar Untwal, BJP
DharSavitri Thakur, BJP
IndoreSumitra Mahajan (BJP)
KhandwaNandkumar Singh Chouhan (BJP)
KhargoneSubhash Patel, BJP
MandsaurSudhir Gupta, BJP
RatlamKantilal Bhuria, Congress
UjjainProf Chintamani Malviya, BJP
WEST BENGAL
BarasatKakali Ghosh Dastidar, Trinamool
BasirhatIdris Ali, Trinamool Congress
JoynagarPratima Mondal, Trinamool Congress
MathurapurChoudhury Mohan Jatua, Trinamool Congress
Diamond HarbourAbhishek Banerjee, Trinamool Congress
Kolkata SouthSubrata Bakshi, Trinamool Congress
JadavpurSugata Bose, Trinamool Congress
Kolkata NorthSudip Bandyopadhyay, Trinamool Congress
DumdumSaugata Roy, Trinamool Congress

First Published: May 18, 2019 17:42 IST

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