JHARGRAM:In Jangalmahal, once a Maoist stronghold, it is advantage Mamata Banerjee. Still, the Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo is worried ahead of the Assembly polls in the state.
Described as an “empress” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi she still holds sway in a region, where people consider her only “Didi”.
In the 2011 Assembly polls, the TMC swept the region, winning 37 seats out of 46 in the four districts that make up the region. The Congress, which had an alliance with the TMC at the time, also bagged five seats while the Left could retain only 14.
But during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, when the TMC-Congress alliance was no more, the scenario was different. The Left suffered a setback in most constituencies in the region, but in Purulia bordering Jharkhand, the TMC trailed in six out of nine seats. Now, the Left and Congress have an electoral tie up.
Mamata, for the last three days, has been camping in Purulia and had held eight public meetings to make the loss good. She has been attacking not only the Left-Congress combine but also the BJP, which performed well in the 2014 polls.
After Modi’s Sunday public meeting at Kharagpur when he described her as an “empress of corrupt poriborton (change)”, even the Left-Congress combine was enthused. This time BJP might snatch at least three seats here.
As such, Mamata is leaving no stone unturned and reaching out to the voters with her achievements. Rice at `2 a kg, health care facilities, cycles for the school students, and “Kanyasree” (special programme for girls) are the key achievements on which she is banking. Another plank of her campaign is that she was successful in wiping out Maoist insurgency particularly after Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji, a leader of the CPI(Maoist), was gunned down in November 2011 in the jungles of Burisol. Several Maoists have surrendered since then. Peace prevails though some Maoists from Jharkhand are trying to regain their foothold.
Further, her popularity among the poor has not faded as people turn out in large numbers to hear her speak, despite the heat.
TMC set to retain power, predicts poll survey
Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress is set to retain power in West Bengal by winning 178 seats and getting an increased vote share compared to 2011 assembly elections, says an opinion poll conducted by a news channel. Congress-Left parties’ alliance will be the prime challenger to TMC and are expected to win around 110 seats in the 295-member state assembly, the survey by ABP News-Nielsen predicts. It said the BJP will not emerge as a big player in West Bengal and will receive a 5 per cent vote share, winning just one seat. The opinion poll was conducted in 118 constituencies from March 8 to March 20.
Mamata’s top cop snooping on opponents: bjp
The BJP on Tuesday asked the Election Commission to remove the top cop in Kolkata as he was allegedly snooping on CM Mamata Banerjee’s political opponents. It termed the snooping a “reprehensible and unethical” act of the West Bengal government. A BJP delegation met Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and handed over a memorandum against the TMC government and Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. The BJP also alleged that two persons approached its former party state unit chief Rahul Sinha with an offer of money in exchange for help in cow smuggling to Bangladesh.