Mamata’ looks clear favourite in by-election (Curtain raiser)September 24th, 2011 - 7:06 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Sep 24 (IANS) West Bengal is all set for one of its most eye-catching by-elections Sunday, when state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeks her maiden entry into the state assembly.
The 56-year-old Trinamool Congress chief is seeking election from the Bhawanipore constituency, from where the sitting lawmaker, state PWD Minister Subrata Bakshi, resigned to make way for Banerjee.
Banerjee is being considered the clear favourite, as the voters in the area have been traditional supporters of her party, and the by-election takes place only four-and-half months after Trinamool’s spectacular success in the state assembly polls.
Bhawanipore assembly segment is also part of Banerjee’s Kolkata South Lok Sabha constituency, which has been electing her since 1991.
She is the second chief minister of the state who is eyeing a by-poll victory to enter state assembly. Earlier, Siddharth Shankar Ray, during his tenure as the chief minister, was elected to the state assembly in a by-election in the early 1970s.
A maximum of 2,12,545 voters in 262 polling stations will decide Banerjee’s fate as she takes on the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) candidate, Nandini Mukherjee, a computer science professor.
Mukherjee, a greenhorn in elections, holds a Ph.D. from the Manchester University.
It is said that she agreed to take on the state’s most popular leader currently, after several veterans declined to contest against Banerjee. “Didi”, as she is popularly called, led her party to a massive victory in the April-May assembly polls, unseating the 34-year-old Left Front regime.
The area, which houses Banerjee’s spartan residence in a dingy lane of Kalighat, is considered her pocket borough.
Bakshi had won by a whopping margin of 49,963 votes over CPI-M candidate Narayan Jain in the polls earlier this year. Ironically, Jain is now actively campaigning for the chief minister after switching alliance to the Trinamool, leaving the CPI-M red-faced.
The CPI-M, aware that the going is tough, is taking the contest more as a fight to serve a warning to Banerjee, whom they accuse of being whimsical in her running of the government and of failing to control law and order.
Under strict instructions from their leader, Trinamool activists have not used posters or graffiti in Banerjee’s poll campaign, and are playing soothing Rabindrasangeet in every rally and procession.
Sloganeering — the pet campaign tool of Indian politicians — was minimal as Banerjee trudged the lanes and by-lanes of Bhawanipore wooing the voters for two days. She also addressed an election meeting where she outlined the “pro-people” steps taken by her government in the past few months.
On the other hand, former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Left Front chairman Biman Bose and opposition leader in the assembly Surya Kanta Mishra have campaigned for the CPI-M candidate.
Other than Trinamool and CPI-M, three other Independents and a candidate of the Indian Justice Party are in the fray.
A by-poll is also being held for the Basirhat (Uttar) assembly constituency Sunday after the CPI-M’s legislator Mostafa Bin Quasem allegedly committed suicide by jumping from the balcony of his room in the MLAs’ Hostel.
Trinamool’s A.T.M. Abdulla is pitted against the CPI-M’s Subid Ali Gazi in Basirhat, where around 1.93 lakh voters in 239 polling stations will cast their votes Sunday to elect a new lawmaker.
A Bharatiya Janata Party candidate and an Independent are also in the fray.
Nearly 19 companies of central police forces will be deployed in the two constituencies during the polls.
The counting will take place Sep 28.
- 50 percent voting in Mamata bypoll - Sep 25, 2011
- Left pits woman professor against Mamata - Sep 01, 2011
- CPI-M accuses Mamata Banerjee of violating poll code - Sep 02, 2011
- Mamata wins by-poll, Trinamool snatches Basirhat-Uttar - Sep 28, 2011
- Trinamool retains Kolkata South with massive margin - Dec 04, 2011
- Mamata to fight Bhowanipore assembly seat Sep 25 (Lead) - Aug 25, 2011
- CPI-M student leader to contest Kolkata South by-poll - Nov 03, 2011
- Mamata to contest from Bhawanipore assembly seat - Aug 19, 2011
- Over 51 percent vote in Kolkata South by-poll - Nov 30, 2011
- Trinamool workers canvass door-to-door for 'Didi' - Sep 11, 2011
- Mamata's pet Lok Sabha seat goes to polls - Nov 29, 2011
- Trinamool fields Subrata Bakshi for Lok Sabha by-poll - Nov 02, 2011
- Three victories for Mamata on golden Wednesday - Sep 28, 2011
- Congress faces setback in Andhra, Trinamool wins UP bypoll (Roundup) - Jun 15, 2012
- CPI-M's easy win in Tripura bypoll - Jun 15, 2012
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