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TMC workers in Mamata constituency start celebrations ahead of bypoll


Ashok Chatterjee

Kolkata (The Hawk): Within hours of the Election Commission of India (EC) announcement of holding the by-election in Kolkata’s Bhawanipur constituency, there were hectic activities witnessed in the area.

From setting up posters of chief minister Mamata Banerjee to wall graffiti with ‘Khela Hobe’ slogan, Trinamool (TMC) supporters could be seen on Saturday evening in a jubilant mood in anticipation of a big win for their beloved Didi. Even the state transport minister, Firhad Hakim, could be seen lending a hand to paint wall graffiti in the area. Mamata Banerjee’s fans claimed that Didi will secure a bigger margin of victory than Chattopadhyay as her popularity is unmatched.

“Didi is always by our side and it is our duty to make Didi win the election,” said a TMC supporter, who scanned the voter list of the constituency.

Bhawanipur has been traditionally Mamata Banerjee’s backyard as she has won many times from the constituency in the past. In the 2021 state election, she had chosen to contest from Nandigram, instead. But she lost to Bharatiya Janata Party’s Suvendu Adhikari by a narrow margin.

Trinamool Congress’ senior leader and state minister Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay, who contested from the constituency won the seat this year and then vacated it for his party leader Mamata Banerjee.

Meanwhile, West Bengal BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya, slamming the Election Commission, said it has turned itself into a laughing stock by permitting a bypoll in Bhawanipur out of the many more.

“The number of COVID cases is on the rise but for the EC Bhabanipur is free of COVID. The election body should permit bypoll in the rest of the constituencies as well,” said Bhattacharya, adding that the BJP is ready to counter TMC in the polls.

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said that the polling should take place maintaining all COVID appropriate behaviours. The ruling party is in a hurry to have the polls so that Mamata Banerjee can keep her post.

CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty too criticised the TMC and demanded that the TMC should also come clean about the municipal elections which are due for over three years.

The leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikari too reacted angrily over the state chief secretary, HK Dwivedi’s letter to the EC mentioning that “if the by-election in Bhawanipur is not held within the six months there would be a ‘constitutional crisis’”.

He vowed to take up the matter on how a chief secretary of a state can write a letter like this and speak like a ‘partyman’.

“We will not let this matter go as Hari Krishna Dwivedi being the chief secretary of the state cannot behave like a partyman. I will soon take up this matter,” said Suvendu.

He added, “The EC decision has proved the chief minister wrong as she keeps repeating at her public addresses that the EC runs on order from the BJP.  The EC should also clarify why they chose to hold a by-election in just one constituency out of the 31 vacant seats as Jangiour and Samserganj are both general elections.”

Both the Left Front and the Congress didn’t spell out yet if they will field a candidate in Bhawanipur against the Mamata as they all are uniting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government for the 2024 general election, but Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claimed that he had asked the Left Front not field a candidate in Samserganj constituency. Despite the request, if the Left fields a candidate, it will be a “friendly contest between the Left Front and Congress”.