Bengal Bypolls: Mamata to contest from Bhabanipur, BJP baits on big names
Mamata Banerjee to contest from Bhabanipur on 30 September and must win to continue as West Bengal’s chief minister. BJP is likely to file big names whereas Congress will give a free walkover to TMC
Kolkata, 6 September 2021: On Saturday, much to the relief of Mamata Banerjee, the Election Commission of India has announced by-polls for three assembly constituencies in Bengal.
Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee lost the 2021 election from Nandigram. She will contest from the Bhabanipur assembly constituency in the by-polls. It has sparked the speculation of BJP naming a heavyweight candidate against the TMC supremo.
The by-polls will be held on 30 September in Jangipur, Shamsherganj, and Bhabanipur
Star candidates against Mamata Banerjee
Mamata will contest from Bhabanipur in the by-polls was clear as sitting TMC MLA Sobhandeb Chattopadhay vacated his seat after the election results. It is said that Mamata chose her home constituency for by-polls. It won’t be wrong to mention that the Bengal election was fought between Mamata and opponents, not between TMC and BJP. This sentiment is still relevant in the upcoming by-polls.
In this situation, BJP has decided to file big names against Mamata Banerjee. Actor turned politician Rudranil Ghosh and former Governor of Tripura, Tathagata Roy are some of the names suggested by the state BJP to the central command against the CM of Bengal. Anirban Ganguly, Swapan Dasgupta, and former Rajya Sabha MP Dinesh Trivedi are also front runners.
Notably, that BJP candidate Rudranil Ghosh has lost the 2021 Bengal polls from Bhabanipur against Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay. People were seen not allowing Ghosh to campaign during the elections. Rudranil has lost the election by over 28,000 votes. Sobhandeb Chattopadhay got 73,505 votes, while the actor got 44,786 votes.
Both Anirban Ganguly and Swapan Dasgupta were defeated by their TMC counterparts in Bolpur and Tarakeswar assembly constituency, respectively. Anirban Ganguly lost the elections against Chandranath Sinha and secured 40.89% of the votes. Ramanendu Sinha Ray defeated Dasgupta by over 7,000 votes.
Dinesh Trivedi joined BJP from TMC right before the election began. He had lost the 2019 national elections against BJP’s Arjun Singh on TMC’s ticket by 14,857 votes. Arjun Singh joined BJP due to his rivalry with Trivedi. Former Governor Tathagata Roy is from the older barracks of the party, who was leading from the Bhabanipur area in the 2016 Lok Sabha Elections. Bhabanipur is a part of the South Kolkata Lok Sabha constituency, where Roy was a BJP candidate in 2016.
According to ANI, sources from Congress have said that they will not give candidates against Mamata Banerjee.
Demography of Bhabanipur
Bhabanipur is a home constituency of Banerjee. It has a sizable population of Gujarati and Marwari people, along with Punjabi. Looking at the demographical equation, Dinesh Trivedi is a better BJP candidate.
But being home to some Punjabi families, the constituency was actively supporting the farmers. Therefore, farmer agitation can be one of the important election issues. With over 2 lakh voters, Bhabanipur has few pockets of BJP supporters, mainly in Gujarati and Marwari communities. The constituency has eight wards after delimitation. Amongst eight wards, BJP was leading in two and marginally trailing in another two wards.
Last time in April, TMC turncoat Rudranil Ghosh lost the polls as Mamata Banerjee has bleated the traitors’ trumpet too loud for others to turn deaf. Ghosh joined BJP a month ahead of polls in Delhi. But this time, the turncoat bleating will be old. TMC has recently made a few BJP MLAs join the party.
Bhabanipur is Mamata Banerjee’s Stronghold
After delimitation, Mamata’s Kalighat residency comes under the Bhabanipur constituency. Since 2011, the Bhabanipur Vidhan Sabha constituency is called her bastion.
TMC came to power in West Bengal in 2011. Though it has a considerable non-Bengali population, Bhabanipur is dominated by middle-class Bengalis, who are TMC’s stronghold.
Subrata Bakshi contested from the seat in 2011 and won against CPI (M) Narayan Prasad Jain. Trinamool Congress general secretary Bakshi then vacated the seat to make way for Mamata to get elected in the state assembly. Then MP Mamata Banerjee defeated Nandini Mukherjee of the Left front by around 54,000 votes.
Later in 2011, Bakshi again won the by-elections as Banerjee resigned.
The by-polls are important for Mamata Banerjee
Mamata Banerjee lost the 2021 polls against her protégé turned adversary Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram by 1,600 votes. And to continue as chief minister she has to win a seat in the by-polls in the next six months.
Mamata has expressed her interest to contest from Bhabanipur assembly in the by-polls, which led Chattopadhay to vacate the seats.