Mahua makes massive waves @ Krishnanagar

Despite internal feud and BJP trying to project TMC as a ‘corrupt party’, the schemes of Mamata Banerjee have got traction with the local people, party’s district leaders claim.
TMC’s candidate Mahua Moitra
TMC’s candidate Mahua Moitra

KRISHNANAGAR: Campaign in West Bengal’s Krishnanagar Lok Sabha constituency, which will go to polls in the fourth phase on May 13, has intensified with TMC’s candidate Mahua Moitra, the former MP from the seat, locked in a fierce contest with BJP’s Amrita Roy, the Rajmata of the Krishnanagar royal family.

Known for her impassioned speeches, Moitra is busy campaigning in villages. “It’s not a fight for local issues. It’s a fight for regaining democracy which BJP in the past 10 years has crushed. It is a vote to preserve fundamental freedoms,” said Moitra, who was removed from the Lok Sabha over the cash-for-query scandal.

Despite internal feud and BJP trying to project TMC as a ‘corrupt party’, the schemes of Mamata Banerjee -- especially women-centric ones like Lakshmir Bhandar, Kanyashree and Rupashree -- have got traction with the local people, party’s district leaders claim.

“I have been selling meat for the last few years in Krishnanagar market and I have seen how our candidate helped common people in times of crisis. The BJP candidate is new and we hardly knew her. Banerjee’s welfare schemes have greatly benefitted us,” said Nadim Haque, a meat seller at Tehatta.

A visit to Krishnanagar Rajbari area shows a different picture -- people are trying to garner support for Roy. “People are frustrated with TMC’s corruption. They want an alternative to TMC and Amrita Roy is the best alternative in the district . Every year she organises Sindur Khela in their Rajbari where Durga Puja is celebrated and women of all age groups participate in full swing. This has helped her get more women support,” said Sunil Mondal, a mason.

Moitra harps on alleged misuse of central agencies by the Modi government. “I am contesting elections not merely to return to Parliament but to give BJP a befitting reply,” she says. A TMC leader strategising Moitra’s campaign said, “Roy is not at all in a contest. We are telling people how BJP’s Hindutva politics is destroying democracy and how Moitra was compelled by BJP to leave Parliament. We are also highlighting our schemes.”

CM Banerjee has been saying that winning Krishnanagar is important for Trinamool. She, in fact, started her campaign for the Lok Sabha polls from Krishnanagar. Sources in TMC district said Moitra’s “arrogant behavior” is not liked by a section of party leaders . “During an internal meeting of TMC , Moitra shouted at Krishnanagar MLA Nasimuddin Ahmed. This was not liked by a section of TMC leaders,” a party leader said. “Although TMC is tightlipped on this issue, Muslim votes are likely to be divided between the ruling party and CPM.” SM Saadi is the CPM candidate.

For the BJP, apart from stopping Moitra from returning to Parliament, the contest is also about regaining lost ground. The party came second in Krishnanagar in 1998 and won it in 1999. It came second in 2004, and third in 2009 and 2014. But it bagged second spot in 2019. “The BJP illegally removed your voice from Parliament. We have to remove the BJP,” Moitra told a mostly-Muslim crowd after a roadshow. “They want to decide what people wear and what they eat. They want to decide if you can wear lungi or not.”

The BJP’s focus is on holding the Trinamool accountable for issues concerning women’s safety, in the context of the Sandeshkhali protests over sexual exploitation, and corruption charges. “I am not fighting Mahua Moitra. I am fighting corruption and I am fighting to provide my mothers and sisters a safe and secure life,” said Roy.

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