The Bhawanipore Battle… Bose & Deepa fight Didi

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee during a road show at her Bhawanipore constituency. Photo-PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee during a road show at her Bhawanipore constituency.
Photo-PTI

Polling is underway in the prestigious Bhawanipore constituency in Kolkata, The seat is witnessing heavy weight contest as Trinamool Congress chairperson and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is challenged by two heavyweights in her own backyard…

Election Commission have made special security arrangements in all polling booths in the constituency after it received a complaint from the congress party , alleging that ruling Trinamool Congress plans to rig polls in Bhawanipore assembly constituency.

A memorandum was submitted on April 29 where the party alleged that supporters of TMC leaders Madan Mitra and Anubrata Mondal are planning to capture booths in the constituency. The party also alleged that a number of anti-social elements are terrorising people and urged the poll watchdog to deploy central forces to ensure a free and fair election.

Deepa Dasmunshi, former Union Minister is contesting as a Congress candidate while Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grand nephew Chandra Kumar Bose is fielded by BJP from the seat.

Bhawanipore constituency, under which Mamata Banerjee’s Kalighat residence falls, has been a stronghold of TMC since its inception in 2011.

The seat with 202655 voters is a home to a sizeable number of Gujaratis, Sikhs, Biharis, Marwaris living alongside Bengalis in the states capital.

TMC General Secretary and Banerjee’s trusted lieutenant, Subrata Bakshi had won the seat in 2011 when the party fought the election in alliance with Congress by nearly 50,000 votes defeating his nearest CPI-M rival Narayan Prasad Jain. Within a few months Bakshi had vacated the seat to pave the way for Mamata Banerjee, who was an MP, to get elected to the state Assembly.

Banerjee had won the bypoll with a margin of 54,000 votes defeating her nearest CPI(M) rival Nandini Mukherjee. Bakshi later won the Kolkata South Lok Sabha seat vacated by Banerjee.

Bhawanipore, which takes the pride of having Banerjee as the MLA, has never disappointed TMC except 2014 Lok Sabha polls when BJP had managed to get a slender lead from this Assembly segment under Kolkata South Lok Sabha constituency.

Congress -CPI(M) alliance candidate Deepa Dasmunshi at an election campaign in Bhawanipore constituency. Photo-PTI

Congress -CPI(M) alliance candidate Deepa Dasmunshi at an election campaign in Bhawanipore constituency.
Photo-PTI

During the Lok Sabha polls, BJP’s Kolkata South candidate and current Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy came second to Bakshi, but took a lead in the Bhawanipore Assembly segment.

Banerjee in spite of her hectic schedule as Chief Minister and TMC supremo has focused on her constituency.

“In other constituencies, the fight may be of winning or losing. But in Bhawanipore the fight is to increase the margin than last time, because we’ll know that didi will win in this seat,” party leader Firhad Hakim said.

Deepa Dasmunshi, the alliance candidate and wife of ailing Congress leader P R Dasmunsi, felt that people would vote against corruption and lawlessness.

“People are fed up with the corruption and lawlessness of TMC. People want peace and democracy to be established in Bengal and it will start from the Bhawnipore constituency,” Dasmunshi, fondly called ‘Boudi’, said.

“Five years back people had voted in favour of TMC with lot of hopes. It has not only failed, but has also betrayed the masses under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee,” she said.

“TMC had betrayed Congress after coming to power in Bengal in 2011.People in 2016 will give TMC a befitting reply for betraying people and Congress, “said Dasmunshi.

Grandnephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and BJP's candidate Chandra Kumar Bose in Kolkatta.  Photo - PTI

Grandnephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and BJP’s candidate Chandra Kumar Bose in Kolkatta.
Photo – PTI

On the other hand, a political greenhorn who is pitted against battle-hardened adversaries, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grand-nephew Chandra Kumar Bose feels it is not a fight between personalities but a fight between principles, development and neglect.

“It is a fight between the BJP’s agenda of development and the Trinamool’s misgovernance, corruption, lawlessness and neglect. And I am confident of winning in Bhawanipore. In 2014 only BJP had taken a lead from this segment,” Bose said.

Asked if he is worried about the alliance, Bose said, “Not at all. It’s an unholy alliance to fool the people of Bengal. They are fighting against each other in Kerala and are fighting together in Bengal,”.