KOLKATA: The BJP is set enter the rough terrain of West Bengal’s electoral landscape on Tuesday as 31 Assembly constituencies in three south Bengal districts will go to the third-phase polls.
A fierce battle between the TMC and the BJP is expected as the ruling party is all set to go all out in the 31 constituencies in South 24 Parganas, Howrah, and Hooghly districts, and the saffron camp is desperate to hoist its party flags in Mamata Banerjee’s bastion.
In the 2016 Assembly elections, the TMC bagged victory in as many as 30 seats and Congress won one. The three districts left untouched in the saffron storm that the state had witnessed in the 2019 general elections. BJP secured lead only in 2 seats while TMC kept its vote-bank intact in 29 constituencies.
"The real test of our strength in south Bengal will begin from Tuesday. In the first two phases, we enjoyed the result of our impressive performance in Junglemahal and in the East Midnapore district. We campaigned in East Midnapore by riding Suvendu Adhikari's support base. Now, we are going for an eyeball-to-eyeball conflict in TMC’s citadel in south Bengal districts which comprises the 31 seats," said a senior BJP leader.
The voters of all seven Assembly constituencies of Diamond Harbour represented by TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee in Lok Sabha will exercise their franchise on Tuesday which has become the talk of Bengal’s political circuit.
"We lambasted the Bengal CM on the issue of her nephew Abhishek Banerjee. Our national leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home minister Amit Shah, never missed the opportunity to hit out at Abhishek on the issue of corruption and siphoning off relief fund for cyclone Amphan victims. This third phase which covers a vast part of the Amphan-ravaged area in South 24 Parganas is crucial. The electorates’ political alignment will reflect whether our campaign attacking Mamata on aunt-nephew issue worked at all or not," he said.
In a smart move to counter BJP’s deployment of actor Mithun Chakrabarty in poll campaign, the TMC held a roadshow with actor-turned-Samajwadi Party’s Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachhan. She will hold roadshows in south Bengal districts in the next few days where polls will be conducted.
"My party leader Akhilesh Yadav asked me to come here to give my support to TMC. I have utmost love and respect for Mamataji, a single woman fighting against all atrocities," said Jaya on Monday.
TMC leaders said the presence of the actor in roadshows will not only blunt BJP’s attempt to bank on Mithun’s stardom but also secure electoral dividend in favour of the party to some extent. "No one can say we have brought an outsider. She is a daughter of Bengal," said a TMC leader.