Bhawanipore bypoll: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's desperation aimed at protecting image

Express News Service

KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s aggressive campaign for the by-election in Bhawanipore, despite being termed by the BJP as a reflection of her “desperation”, is said to be aimed at protecting her popular image.

Sources in the ruling party said that the West Bengal CM had issued a dictate to party leaders to increase her victory margin. Sovandeb Chattopadhyay won from here by a margin of 28,719 votes, while in 2016 assembly elections, Mamata had won by 25,301 votes. “If she gets one vote less than Chattopadhyay’s margin, BJP will get a chance to raise questions on the CM’s popularity,” said a senior TMC leader. 

For the last one week, Mamata, has been holding back-to-back rallies in the constituency, aiming to woo the diverse electorate. Observers in Bengal’s political circle said such aggressive campaign by a chief minister in a by-election is unprecedented.

“The ruling party is always in advantageous position in any by-election. The TMC is definitely much ahead of the BJP since it secured a victory with thumping majority in the assembly elections. The CM returned to her erstwhile constituency after being defeated in Nandigram and her desperation appears to be an effort to ensure victory with a record margin,” said Dr Bishnupriya Dutta Gupta, a political science professor.

In all her campaigns, Mamata has made it clear that she is counting on each and every vote in the constituency. 

Fist fight by TMC, BJP supporters at campaign climax

The last-hour campaign in Bhawanipore by-election witnessed a scuffle between BJP and TMC supporters, forcing a policeman to take out his firearm from holster. In the fisticuff, one BJP supporter received injuies on his head.  The incident took place at Jagubabu Bazar.