Kolkata: Ahead of the crucial Assembly election in West Bengal, electioneering is taking its top gear as the dates were announced by the Election Commission of India (ECI) last month.
The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) released its list of candidates who will contest from 291 seats out of the 294 Assembly Seats in West Bengal.
The BJP released a list of 57 candidates who will mostly be fighting in the first and second phase Assembly Elections.
The Congress, which is contesting the Bengal Assembly Elections with the Left, has announced a list of 13 candidates so far.
While the Congress, the Left Front, Indian Secular Front, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and some other smaller parties are in the fray, the real contest appears to be between Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The TMC is marching into the election under the leadership of incumbent Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee.
The BJP, on the other hand, has not declared its chief ministerial candidate saying it has “many potential leaders”.
Chief Minister will file her nomination papers from the Nandigram seat on March 10, while her rival and BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari will do the same two days later, as the stage is set for the Battle Royale in the constituency.
Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee claimed this is going to be a “soft election.”
“This is a soft election, a smiley election. We will play, we will fight, we will win,” she said.
The BJP has claimed it will win 200 seats in the elections, while the TMC, via poll strategist Prashant Kishor, has contended that the saffron party won’t cross 99.
West Bengal assembly with 294 seats will go to polls in April-May 2021, Trinamool holds 222 seats. BJP has made major inroads in the state in the Lok Sabha elections winning 18 seats and establishing itself as the major opposition force in the state.
TMC MP Sougata Roy said that the party is preparing in “every possible way”.
Hitting out at Bharatiya Janata Party, the TMC MP said, “BJP is trying to bring outsiders to put pressure.” By outsiders, Sougata Roy pointed towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Trinamool youth wing president and Diamond Harbour MP Abhishek Banerjee said TMC is going to form the government for the third consecutive term and the party will stay in power for 50 years.
“West Bengal will elect Mamata Banerjee as the chief minister for the third time,” the Diamond Harbour MP said
Meanwhile, as per the ABP-CNX survey, the ruling TMC in Bengal is likely to get 154-164 seats while BJP which was ahead in 117 assembly seats in the first opinion poll is likely to win only 102-112 seats now.
BJP is losing ground as it is likely to face anger from people because of the increasing price of petroleum products as it is a major concern for the people. Approx 42% of people believe that a price rise is the failure of the Modi Government.
Calling himself a “cobra that can kill with one bite”, popular actor and former TMC Rajya Sabha MP Mithun Chakraborty joined the BJP on March 7, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata.
Despite having put his best years in the film industry behind him, Chakraborty still has considerable popularity among Bengalis across age groups. It may help BJP to counter Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s “outsider” barb at them.
The TMC leadership even indicated that they were assuming that the BJP may project Chakraborty as their chief ministerial candidate in the Assembly elections and have already started to raise the pitch against him.
While addressing the gathering at Brigade Parade Ground, Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to Chakraborty as “Banglar Chele” (Bengal’s Son) – an apparent counter the TMC’s ‘Bangla Nijer Meye ke Chai (Bengal wants its own daughter)’ slogan which refers to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as Bengal’s daughter.
“Mithun has switched sides several times. I have heard from many that the BJP wants to make him their chief ministerial candidate. But my question is does he have the credibility and capability to become a Chief Minister,” said senior TMC MP Sougata Roy.
This is not the first time the “Disco Dancer” star is having an affiliation with political parties or leaders. He had a very close relationship with the late CPI(M) leader Subhas Chakraborty. Then in 2014, the TMC made him a Rajya Sabha MP.
Less than 20 days are left for the first phase of polling is to be conducted in West Bengal and ECI is readying the preparation. At least 415 companies of central forces will be deployed by the ECI for the first phase of polling on March 27 in West Bengal.