BONGAON (BENGAL) : Union MoS for Urban Development Babul Supriyo was on Wednesday caught unawares when two young women pulled him by his hair and kissed him while he was campaigning for BJP nominee for Bongaon Lok Sabha constituency Subrata Thakur.
A bevy of celebrities, including BJP’s ‘Draupadi’ Rupa Ganguly, famous playback singers Kumar Shanu and Babul, film star-turned-MP Moonmoon Sen, TMC nominee Mamatabala Thakur, among others, have come down to Bongoan, situated on the Indo-Bangladesh border, to drum up votes for their respective parties.
Meanwhile, a feud has broken out within the Thakur family, which enjoys the support of the Motua community -- refugees from Bangladesh -- in North 24 Parganas district. Subrata, son of Manjulkrishna Thakur, who quit West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerji’s Cabinet a month ago to join the BJP, will now take on his aunt Mamatabala, the widow of Kapilkrishna Thakur, whose death necessitated the bypoll. The Motuas had earlier been CPM loyalists, but switched sides when Banerjee promised them citizenship during the 2009 polls.
Now, the two nominees, who are neighbours, have taken to washing their dirty linen in public.
The BJP has raised questions about Mamatabala’s educational qualifications, alleging that she had falsely stated that she passed Class VII and the TMC has lodged a complaint against Subrata for having visited temples in a “drunken state”.
The 2014 polls gave a margin of 1,46.141 to Kapilkrishna Thakur, who was a CPM supporter, but switched sides and was nominated by Banerjee despite strong protests from the Motua “motherhood” controlled by Binapani Debi.
Though the Motuas are unhappy about the fight within the leading family, most still hope that either one of the Thakurs be elected. Financially backward Muslims, who form 40 per cent of the electorate in the constituency, are drifting towards the Left fold. A section of Motuas and Hindus, including Scheduled Castes, have also moved towards the CPM as they feel the TMC government is “pandering to Muslims”.
Political analysts say the swing in support could mean that CPM candidate Debesh Das, former IT minister and an engineer from IIT, has a good chance of becoming the proverbial dark horse.
However, State Minister Subrata Mukherjee insists that victory will be his party’s alone.