KOLKATA: A day after Election Commission declared that Uluberia Lok Sabha and Noapara Vidhan Sabha constituencies in West Bengal would go to by-elections on January 29, Trinamool Congress and CPM announced the names of their candidates on Friday while BJP decided to pitch central leaders including party president Amit Shah to evoke Hindutva at Muslim-concentrated Uluberia.
While TMC named Uluberia MP Sultan Ahmed’s wife Sajda Ahmed as their candidate for Uluberia, Garulia municipality chairman Sunil Singh was named as TMC candidate for Noapara. On the other hand, CPM named Sabiruddin Molla for Uluberia and Gargi Chatterjee for Noapara. However, while BJP is yet to declare names of their candidates, party sources revealed that the saffron party’s prime focus would be on Uluberia, where polarisation may benefit BJP.
Accordingly, not only state leaders such as Mukul Roy and Dilip Ghosh but even central leaders including national president Amit Shah, who is likely to arrive in the state in mid-January, will campaign for the BJP candidate in the constituency.
While naming of Sultan Ahmed’s wife Sajda as TMC candidate for Uluberia has worried a section of BJP strategists – owing to Ahmed’s legacy among the 43 per cent Muslim voters of the constituency – they believe that good performance of the saffron party in recent by-elections in the state and also retaining of Gujarat would help BJP consolidate the 55 per cent Hindu voters of the constituency.
By-elections to both the seats were necessitated after deaths of the sitting representatives. While Noapara MLA Madhusudhan Ghose died after a protracted illness due to cancer at the age of 79 on August 18, Uluberia MP Sultan Ahmed died of cardiac arrest at an age of 64 on September 4.