Jadavpur joust is on a razor’s edge

It could be a toss up between the Trinamool’s Saayoni Ghosh, the CPM’s Srijan Bhattacharyya and the BJP’s Anirban Ganguly because the race is that tight. All three are alumni of Jadavpur University.
From left, Srijan Bhattacharyya, 
Saayoni Ghosh and Dr Anirban Ganguly.
From left, Srijan Bhattacharyya, Saayoni Ghosh and Dr Anirban Ganguly.Illustration: Mandar Pardikar

KOLKATA: The Jadavpur parliamentary constituency is known for its cerebral power as it often sends luminaries to the Lok Sabha. For example, way back in 1984, current Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrested the seat on a Congress ticket from CPM stalwart Somnath Chatterjee.

This time around, it could be a toss up between the Trinamool’s Saayoni Ghosh, the CPM’s Srijan Bhattacharyya and the BJP’s Anirban Ganguly because the race is that tight. All three are alumni of Jadavpur University. At 47, Dr Ganguly is the eldest of them. Saayoni and Srijan are 31.

Saayoni became the Trinamool Congress youth wing head after Mamata’s nephew and party general secretary Abhishek Banerjee vacated the position in 2021. An actor by profession, she got the moniker of a party streetfighter from Mamata.

Srijan is member of the CPM’s West Bengal state committee. He was the state secretary of the Students’ Federation of India for just over six years till January last. As for Dr Ganguly, he is an academic and chairman of the BJP’s Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

While Saayoni parrots Mamata’s seamless connect with the grassroots, adding she introduced various innovative schemes for the upliftment of the poor, Ganguly hammers away at the TMC’s scams under Mamata’s watch and her attempts to shield her tainted party leaders.

Saayoni models herself on Mamata’s brand of politics, saying: “I’ve learned that real politics is different from what’s in the textbooks. A true leader understands the people’s needs and struggles, just like Mamata. A leader must be accessible, and I am here for Jadavpur.” Her political journey began in February 2021 when she joined the TMC and unsuccessfully contested for the Asansol South assembly seat.

In contrast, Srijan has been in politics for a long time. He promises to introduce more industries and bring back jobs to the state that were chased away by the current regime. He flogs the Singur example where the then CPM chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya invited the Tatas to set up their Nano plant, but they were driven away by Mamata’s activism.

Ganguly is seen mobilising people from other districts for large road shows and rallies with posters and banners in a demonstration of strength across the constituency. Sobha Rani Deb, a senior voter in Baghajatin area of Jadavpur is critical of Ganguly’s mobilisation. “This is an election, not a festival. Ganguly’s road shows often end up in creating traffic bottlenecks,” she rued.

The Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency includes Baruipur Purba (Scheduled Caste), Baruipur Paschim, Sonarpur, Bhangar, Jadavpur, Sonarpur Uttar and Tollygunge assembly segments. It falls within the 24 Parganas district, which is the sixth-most densely populated in India.

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