Kolkata, May 10 (GCCurrentAffairs) Despite the BJP throwing a gauntlet to the Trinamool Congress from the Kolkata Dakshin Lok Sabha constituency, which is the home turf of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a convincing victory for the ruling party here is just a foregone conclusion.
BJP national president Amit Shah, who has said the party would bag at least 23 of the 42 seats from Bengal, includes the Kolkata Dakshin seat as well which is all set to witness clashes among seasoned politicians, going to the seventh and last phase of polls for Lok Sabha elections on May 19.
The main reason for pinning all hopes and resources on Kolkata Dakshin seat is that the BJP in this particular constituency in 2014 Lok Sabha election occupied the second position trailing behind the TMC winner Subrata Bakshi.
This apart, a sizeable number of Gujaratis and non-Bengali population in Bhawanipur constituency coupled with the fact that the BJP got a lead from here in 2014 are stirring up huge expectations.
The firebrand leader Mamata Banerjee represented the Kolkata Dakshin parliamentary constituency for six consecutive times out of her seven terms as MP.
This constituency has been such a strong home turf for Mamata that for years now she has been spending not more than a couple of days for campaigning in her constituency to win the seat every time.
“Even when the Trinamool fortunes dipped to a single MP, it was Kolkata Dakshin that ensured Mamata’s victory in 1998,” said a senior Trinamool leader.
“Mamata is the principal vote-catcher of the party and all candidates ride her popularity to win their respective seats. It is not unnatural that she has had so little time for her own constituency,” said an another Trinamool leader.
Kolkata Dakshin Lok Sabha seat has been returning Mamata Banerjee to Parliament since 1991. But this is the second occasion in her four-decade long political career that Mamata is not contesting a Lok Sabha election. She first entered Parliament in 1984.
In 2009, Mamata became an MP for the last time and the Union railways minister of the last UPA government. She resigned and returned to Bengal to concentrate in leading the Trinamool Congress in the 2011 Assembly elections. And after Trinamool’s thumping victory over the Left Front that ended the 34-yearold-regime of the Marxists, she became an MLA in an Assembly by- election from Bhowanipore.
This time, too, Mamata is least perturbed about the result in her erstwhile constituency. Mamata is now on a whirlwind campaign tour of South Bengal that is going to the elections on May 12 and this year her party candidate Mala Roy is campaigning in Kolkata Dakshin.
And, it is only the next week onwards that people of Kolkata dakshin would get to see the daughter of the soil campaigning in the nook and corner of their constituency.
In fact, when she resigned as MP, after taking over as chief minister in May 2011, and fielded Subrata Bakshi in a by-election, she barely held a couple of public meetings in the constituency to ensure the victory of her party’s candidate.
Mr Bakshi had won the seat after Ms Banerjee resigned to contest from the Bhawanipore Assembly segment after the Trinamool came to power in West Bengal in 2011.
In 2014, he retained the seat defeated his nearest BJP candidate Tathagata Roy by the margin of 1, 36, 339 votes.
This year TMC has nominated Kolkata municipal corporation (KMC) councillor Mala Roy from this seat. BJP fielded Chandra Kumar Bose , CPI(M) has named Nandini Mukherjee and Mita Chakraborty is contesting on a Congress ticket.
After nominated from this prestigious seat, Roy says she didn’t expect to be the candidate from what she believes is a safe seat for the TMC.
“Didi must have thought this through and done it, but I was very surprised,” she said..
Roy left the TMC in 2005, rejoining in 2015, on the eve of the KMC elections. She contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from the Kolkata South constituency on behalf of the Congress. She finished fourth, behind the TMC, BJP and the CPI (M). Trinamool’s Subrata Bakshi defeated Roy by more than three lakh votes. Roy is confident of winning the seat this time.
The contest, however, is not bereft of challenge.
The BJP has fielded Chandra Kumar Bose, the grandnephew of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, from the seat this time. Boses’s credentials have not dampened Roy’s enthusiasm.