An intelligence report by the West Bengal Police about the election prospect of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has made chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee sit up.
The report by the state intelligence branch was submitted to the chief minister’s office just before the third phase of elections in the state on April 30. While the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat is a foregone conclusion with S S Ahluwalia of the BJP winning with support from the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha, there are three more seats which the party might bag this time.
In 2009, BJP nominee Jaswant Singh had won from Darjeeling with GJM support with a huge margin. The report stated that Satyabrata Mukherjee from Krishnangar Lok Sabha seat, Babul Supriyo from Asansol and Tapan Sikdar from Dumdum have “favourable chances” of winning.
Both Mukherjee and Sikdar had won the 1999 Lok Sabha polls from these two seats and had been ministers in former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Cabinet. It also did not rule out the chances of BJP candidate in Sreerampur, Bollywood music director Bappi Lahiri.
The IB report has created worries for the TMC leadership as it predicted a substantial upswing in BJP’s vote percentage. The BJP’s vote share in the 2011 Assembly polls was only 6 per cent and prior to that varied between 3 to 4 per cent. Only during the by-election for Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency in 2012, the saffron party could win 10 per cent of the votes polled. The report predicted that the BJP might get more than 15 per cent vote in the state.
Because of the BJP’s surge many sitting TMC MPs are expected to lose and the report indicated that the party might lose many of its strongholds.
The report stated that Satabdi Roy from Birbhum, Tapas Pal from Krishnanagar, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar from Barasat, Prasun Banerjee from Howrah, and Sudip Bandyopadhyay from Kolkata North, all sitting TMC MPs, might lose. The other tough seats for the TMC were Sreerampur, Jadabpur and Diamond Harbour. Mamata has nominated her nephew Abhisekh Banerjee from Diamond Harbour and his win is a question of prestige for her. As such, to stop factionalism within the TMC at Diamond Harbour, a team of senior state ministers have been deputed to ensure Abhisekh’s win.
The report also brings in good news for the Left Front, which had won only 15 seats in the 2009 general elections, while the TMC-Congress alliance had won 25 seats.
Since the report, drafted by ADG IB Banibrata Basu, was before the Enforcement Directorate began its fresh probe into the Sharada chit fund scam, Narendra Modi questioned the sale of Mamata’s painting for Rs 1.86 crore and the third phase of polls, the sleuths are conducting a new survey and will submit a fresh report next week.
Two more phases of polling on May 7 and May 12 for six and 17 Lok Sabha constituencies are yet to be held. Mamata had set a target of at least 30 seats for party in the state as she has been eying a larger say in the happenings in Delhi.