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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: With phase 4, elections move to Trinamool stronghold south Bengal

So far the 10 constituencies where the people have voted in the first three phases were located mainly in north Bengal, where the emerging force of Bharatiya Janata Party is hoping to do better than in the southern parts of the state.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 28, 2019 22:18 IST
Avijit Ghosal
Avijit Ghosal
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Eight West Bengal seats are going to polls in phase 4 of Lok Sabha elections 2019.
Eight West Bengal seats are going to polls in phase 4 of Lok Sabha elections 2019.(ANI file photo)
         

With phase four, polling for which will be held on Monday, the elections will be moving into south Bengal that has been the fortress for ruling Trinamool Congress.

So far the 10 constituencies where the people have voted in the first three phases were located mainly in north Bengal, where the emerging force of Bharatiya Janata Party is hoping to do better than in the southern parts of the state.

While Mamata Banerjee has vowed to pick up all 42 seats in the state, the BJP state president Dilip Ghosh has claimed that her party is unlikely to win any seat in the 10 that went to the polls in the first three phases.

Read: Full coverage of Lok Sabha elections 2019

Ignoring both extremes, political analysts say that the ruling party is likely to face extremely tough contest in some north Bengal constituencies such as Alipurduar, Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, and Malda North from the BJP, while the Congress will give Trinamool a run for its money in Raiganj, Malda South and Jangipur.

That’s all the more reason elections to the remaining 32 constituencies is extremely crucial for Mamata Banerjee.

The eight seats up for grabs in phase four are Baharampur, Krishnagar, Ranaghat, Asansol, Burdwan East, Burdwan-Durgapur, Bolpur and Birbhum.

Read: All about West Bengal

In 2014, out of these eight, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won one seat each. The remaining six were cornered by the ruling party.

In the last Lok Sabha elections, Trinamool won 34 seats in the state and of these as many as 30 were in south Bengal.

Just for the candidates contesting from them, three constituencies stand out among the eight in phase four. These are Berhampore, Asansol and Burdwan-Durgapur.

The Congress candidate from Baharampur (in Murshidabad district), Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, is one of the most bitter and consistent critics of the Trinamool Congress chief. And he has not tasted defeat in the past four general elections, having carved out a following of his own despite the declining fortunes of India’s oldest party in West Bengal.

Chowdhury’s winning margin of 356,567 was the highest by any Congress candidate in the country in 2014. While Chowdhury looks set for a fifth successive victory, Mamata Banerjee unleashed a no-holds-barred campaign against him, even alleging that he was backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party during the campaign.

While analysts pointed out that the Trinamool chief was probably trying to wean away some Muslim votes in the constituency that seem to be solidly with Chowdhury, the Congress candidate has dared anyone to vanquish him from the seat in Murshidabad district.

Incidentally, according to the 2011 census, Muslims constitute as many as 66.27% of the population of Murshidabad district.

Read: Once held by Somnath Chaterjee, Bolpur is in Trinamool kitty now

Despite the apparent pro-Muslim tilt in Mamata Banerjee’s policies, her party has not won any Lok Sabha seat in the districts of Murshidabad and Malda, where Muslims make up 51.27% of the population (according to 2011 census).

Asansol, another high-profile constituency, might offer tough contest for Trinamool Congress. The incumbent and BJP nominee from this seat, Babul Supriyo, won in 2014, with not so impressive margin of 70480 votes. The candidature of Trinamool’s Moon Moon Sen, who had a lacklustre performance as an MP from Bankura constituency in 2014, has raised many eyebrows.

The other BJP MP from Bengal in 2014, S S Ahluwalia, who won from the high-profile Darjeeling seat, is contesting from Burdwan-Durgapur. His key opponent is Trinamool’s Mamtaz Sanghamita who won the seat in the last general elections by 107,331 votes.

BJP leaders are quite confident that they would win in Asansol, Burdwan-Durgapur, Krishnagar and Birbhum. The last three were won by Mamata banerjee’s party in 2014.

Read: Trinamool will look to retain Burdwan East

Political analysts have pointed out Trinamool Congress has an edge in Burdwan Durgapur, Burdwan East, Bolpur and Birbhum. In many parts of south Bengal, and especially in Birbhum district, a sentiment that might play against the ruling party is the inability of many to cast their votes in the panchayat elections in May 2018, apart from the fact that in many areas the question of exercising the franchise never arose since opposition candidates could not even file nomination, allegedly due to muscle-flexing by Trinamool Congress workers.

In Ranaghat, where more than a quarter of the electorate are Matuas (a dalit community that migrated from erstwhile East Pakistan since Independence and also after 1971), Mamata Banerjee sprang a surprise by nominating a 25-year-old homemaker, and a political greenhorn, whose husband, a two-time Trinamool MLA, was shot dead on February 10.

To ensure free and fair elections in a state where polls and bloodshed go hand in hand, the Election Commission has planned to put about 98% of the polling stations under central paramilitary forces.

Though Trinamool Congress leaders have repeatedly alleged that the poll watchdog is working at the behest of the BJP in putting such an overwhelming number of polling stations under central forces, the opposition parties have welcomed the decision, with Narendra Modi even mentioning in a public meeting on April 24 that before the general elections in 2009, Mamata Banerjee, then an opposition leader, demanded that President’s rule be imposed in Bengal and the armed forces deployed for the sake of free and fair polls.

 

ConstituencySitting MP
Madhya Pradesh
Balaghat Bodhsingh Bhagat, BJP
Chhindwara Kamal Nath, Congress
Jabalpur Rakesh Singh, BJP
Mandla Faggan Singh Kulaste, BJP
Shahdol Gyan Singh, BJP
Sidhi Riti Pathak, BJP
Rajasthan
Ajmer  Raghu Sharma, Congress
Banswara Manshankar Nimana, BJP
Barmer Sona Ram Choudhary, BJP
Bhilwara Subhash Baheria, BJP
Chhittorgarh Chandra Prakash Joshi, BJP
Jalore Devji Patel, BJP
Jhalawar-Baran Dushyant Singh, BJP
Jodhpur Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, BJP
Kota Om Birla, BJP
Pali P P Choudhary, BJP
Rajsamand Hariom Singh Rathore, BJP
Tonk-Sawai Madhopur Sukhbir Singh Jaunapuria, BJP
Udaipur Arjunlal Meena, BJP
Jammu and Kashmir
Anantnag Vacant
Maharashtra
Bhiwandi Kapil Moreshwar Patil, BJP
Dhule Dr. Bhamre Subhash Ramrao, BJP
Dindori Chavan Harishchandra Devram, BJP
Kalyan Dr.Shrikant Eknath Shinde, Shiv Sena
Mumbai North Gopal Chinayya Shetty, BJP
Mumbai North West Gajanan Chandrakant Kirtikar, Shiv Sena
Mumbai North East Kirit Somaiya, BJP
Mumbai North Central Poonam Mahajan, BJP
Mumbai South Central Rahul Ramesh Shewale, Shiv Sena
Mumbai South Arvind Ganpat Sawant, Shiv Sena
Maval Shrirang Chandu Barne, Shiv Sena
Nandurbar Dr Heena Gavit, BJP
Nashik Godse Hemant Tukaram, Shiv Sena
Palghar Rajendra Gavit, BJP
Shirdi Lokhande Sadashiv Kisan, Shiv Sena
Shirur Adhalrao Shivaji Dattatrey, Shiv Sena
Thane Vichare Rajan Baburao, Shiv Sena
ConstituencySitting MP
Uttar Pradesh
Akbarpur  Devendra Singh Bhole, BJP
Etawah  Ashok Kumar Doharey, BJP
Farrukhabad Mukesh Rajput, BJP
Hamirpur Kunwar Pushpendra Singh Chandel, BJP
Hardoi Anshul Verma, BJP
Jalaun Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma, BJP
Jhansi Uma Bharti, BJP
Kannauj Dimple Yadav, SP
Kanpur Murli Manohar Joshi, BJP
Kheri Ajay Kumar, BJP
Misrikh Anju Bala, BJP
Shahjahanpur Krishna Raj, BJP
Unnao Sakshi Maharaj, BJP
Jharkhand
Chatra Sunil Kumar Singh, BJP
Palamu Vishnu Dayal Ram, BJP
LohardagaSudarshan Bhagat, BJP
Odisha
Balasore Rabindra Kumar Jena, BJD
Bhadrak Arjun Charan Sethi, BJD
Jagatsinghpur Kulamani Samal, BJD
Jajpur Rita Tarai, BJD
Kendrapara Baijayant Panda, BJD (now in BJP)
Mayurbhang Rama Chandra Hansdah, BJD
West Bengal
Asansol Babul Supriyo, BJP
Baharampur Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress
Bardhman Purba Sunil Kumar Mondal, Trinamool Congress
Bolpur Anupam Hazra, Trinamool Congress
Birbhum  Shatabdi Roy, Trinamool Congress
Burdwan-Durgapur Mamtaz Sanghamita, Trinamool Congress
Krishnanagar Tapas Paul, Trinamool
Ranaghat Tapas Mandal, Trinamool
Bihar
Begusarai Dr. Bhola Singh, BJP
Darbhanga Kirti Azad, BJP
Munger Veena Devi, LJP
Samastipur  Ram Chandra Paswan, LJP
Ujiarpur Nityanand Rai, BJP

First Published: Apr 28, 2019 18:57 IST

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