Bengal bypolls litmus test for Trinamool, BJP
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Supriyo, as a BJP candidate, defeated Trinamool candidate actress-turned-politician Moon Moon Sen by a massive margin 1,97,637 votes and also secured a whooping 51.56 per cent of the total votes polled. In 2014, Supriyo's victory margin was lower at 70,480 votes.
Kolkata: As the Asansol Lok Sabha constituency and the Ballygunge Assembly seat in West Bengal are going for the crucial bypolls on Tuesday, political observers feel that these elections are litmus test for the ruling Trinamool Congress and the main opposition BJP.
In case of Asansol, the BJP’s main challenge is to retain this seat, where from the saffron candidate and singer-turned politician, Babul Supriyo was elected as the MP for two consecutive terms first in 2014 and then in 2019. After the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections, Supriyo joined Trinamool and also resigned from as the Asansol MP, which necessitated the bypolls. Supriyo is contesting in the Ballygunge Assembly bypolls this time as the Trinamool Congress candidate.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Supriyo, as a BJP candidate, defeated Trinamool candidate actress-turned-politician Moon Moon Sen by a massive margin 1,97,637 votes and also secured a whooping 51.56 per cent of the total votes polled. In 2014, Supriyo’s victory margin was lower at 70,480 votes.
Political observers feel that generally covering a victory margin of around 2,00,00 lakh votes within a period of less than three year is somewhat a difficult proposition and, in that sense, the BJP is ahead of Trinamool Congress in the bypolls as well. However, generally as per the records in West Bengal, the ruling party has always been in an advantageous position in any bypoll. So, it may be construed that the Asansol contest will be a tightrope walk for both Trinamool and BJP.
Trinamool Congress has fielded popular Bollywood actor, Shatrughan Sinha as its candidate from Asansol this time.
As regards to the bypolls for Ballygunge Assembly constituency, Trinamool Congress’ main challenge is whether Supriyo will go anywhere near the margin of 76,359 votes by which the erstwhile party legislator and former state panchayat minister, Subrata Mukherjee defeated the BJP candidate, Loknath Chatterjee in the 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls. At that point of time, Mukherjee had secured 70.50 per cent of the total votes polled.
The bypolls had been necessitated by the sudden demise of Mukherjee in November last year. BJP’s candidate for the Ballygunge bypolls this time is former journalist Keya Ghosh.
Political observers feel that there is a minor challenge as well for Saira Shah Halim and Partha Mukherjee, the CPI-M candidates from Ballygunge and Asansol respectively and that challenge is whether they will end up as the runner-up in the bypolls. After the 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls, there had been polls for a number of municipal corporations and municipalities in West Bengal and in those elections the Left Front-led by CPI-M emerged as runner up in terms of percentage of votes secured.
The bypolls will be conducted on Tuesday under tight security and coverage with webcasting to be conducted in 100 per cent booths in Ballygunge and 51 per cent booths in Asansol.
While Ballygunge Assembly constituency has a total 300 booths, the number in case of Asansol Lok Sabha constituency is 2,102. A total of 23 booths in Ballygunge have been declared as sensitive. The number of identified sensitive booths in the case of Asansol is 680.
While Ballygunge has 40 micro-observers, the number in case of Asansol is 442. A total of 133 companies of the central armed forces have been deployed for the bypolls, out of which 116 companies will be allotted for Asansol and the remaining 17 companies for Ballygunge. Results for the bypolls will be declared on April 16.