Analysts say the April-May West Bengal assembly elections saw significant communal polarisation, which contributed to the Trinamool Congress president. Mamata BanerjeeDefeated against Suvendu Adhikari of Bharatiya Janata Party in Nandigram. This is followed by Bhabnipur by-election on 30 September. It is Mamata’s home ground, but she is not taking any risk. The Chief Minister of West Bengal files her nomination on Ganesh Chaturthi. And in the last one week, she has visited a Ganesh puja, a mosque, a gurudwara and a temple.
The TMC president is contesting the bypoll as she has to be elected to the state assembly within six months of taking over as the chief minister on May 5.
Mamta is trying to woo large members of non-Bengali communities (about 40% of the population) in the area. “Everyone may have different religions, but the color of our blood is the same. Bhabnipur represents Bengal. Here we all live together. Let’s protect Hindustan,” he told them.
TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee will also hold a special meeting with non-Bengali locals on Saturday.
Are the people on the ground really responding to this campaign? The streets of Bhabnipur have the answer.
The gurdwara that Mamta visited is one of the most important gurdwaras in Kolkata and is visited by a large number of people daily.
Harminder Singh, who is a regular visitor said, “She has always been with us. He has supported the farmers’ movement. We will definitely support him. She is our daughter.”
TMC’s Sovandeb Chatterjee, who won Bhawanipur seat in the assembly elections and has now vacated it so that Mamata can contest, told News18, “Mamata is no longer going to temples and mosques. He has always done this. But as the campaigning begins, it is good that she is going everywhere, and her personal touch definitely means a lot.”
However, Priyanka Tibrewal, the BJP candidate from this seat, is seeing this as an improvement. “Everyone should thank BJP. At least now they are going to temples too.”
Some locals had gathered at a tea stall near Mamta’s residence in the area. “We all live here together. We have unity in diversity. That’s why we will vote for Didi (Mamata).” He said, “She is already the chief minister.”
Ward number 70 out of eight wards of Bhawanipur assembly constituency is a matter of concern for Trinamool. This is where the party was trailing in the last few elections. TMC’s Sovandeb Chatterjee was trailing in this ward by 2,092 votes in this year’s assembly elections.
Many people of Odisha had settled here long back. Hence this region is called Odia Para. The distinguishing feature of this ward is that it also has slums and skyscrapers.
TMC ward leader Santosh Lal said, “This ward is full of non-Bengali population. We get the votes of the slum dwellers. But the skyscrapers are mostly Gujarati. We don’t get votes from there. But this time we will, as we are doing everything possible.”
Roshni Mulani, a second year graduate student and a resident of the place, said, “The chances here are fifty-fifty. Gujaratis are inclined towards PM Narendra Modi. They usually vote for him. But Bengal government has been formed. So where it will go is difficult to say.”