Srijita Seal Kolkata

The electoral arena is intensifying as West Bengal’s Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee steps into the fray on this Sunday. 

TMC Supremo initiates her campaign efforts supporting the TMC’s Krishnanagar’s candidate Mahua Moitra, where she will address her first rally in Dhubulia in Krishnanagar, Nadia District.

Mamata is now focusing strategically on North Bengal, where she plans to hold numerous rallies during her April visit to the region.

The Lok Sabha elections in Bengal will occur across seven phases. The first phase, commencing on April 19, will witness voting in three state constituencies: Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, and Alipurduar. Despite the TMC’s success in South Bengal during the previous Lok Sabha elections, they failed to secure any seats in the North. Consequently, there is a strong emphasis on the eight North Bengal seats this time around. With this aim, Bannerjee will go ahead with her North Bengal tour on April 3. Between April 4 and April 8, she intends to conduct several rallies in support of the party’s candidates in the region.

However, from Sunday onwards, she has plunged into the battlefield of the election with full force. 

Moreover, her decision to kick off her campaign from the constituency of former MP Mahua Moitra carries considerable political significance.

Recently, Mahua’s residence was raided by CBI Officials. Additionally, the ED has also conducted a raid at the residence of Trinamool Minister Chandranath Sinha. Consequently, it is anticipated that Mamata will voice her opposition against the Central Agency during today’s meeting, as per sources. Moreover, she is expected to address the issue of the CAA in her speech. With the presence of the Matua community in Krishnanagar, alongside Bongaon and Ranaghat, the competition for the Krishnanagar seat is intense. BJP has nominated Rajmata for this seat, and the Prime Minister has conversed with her over the phone. Lately Mahua has been expelled from Parliament for allegedly taking bribes to ask questions . Thus, the Krishnanagar seat has become a matter of prestige for the Trinamool.

Trinamool sources indicate that Mamata is slated to conduct six rallies in North Bengal. She will address gatherings in Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri on April 4, followed by rallies in Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar on April 5. On April 6, she will hold rallies in Balurghat and Raiganj. Furthermore, she plans to address gatherings in Bongaon on April 7 and in Purulia on April 8.

During an election meeting on Saturday, Trinamool’s Second in Command, Abhishek Banerjee, criticized BJP, and suggested that they should offer free cooking gas for five years. Furthermore, he mentioned that if they fulfill this promise, he would withdraw all the candidates from the 42 constituencies in Bengal. Additionally, he confidently asserted that the victory margin in Diamond Harbour would reach 4 lakh votes this time. He called for bolstering Mamata Banerjee’s position to confront the opposition.

There are discussions about the BJP’s Central leadership visiting Bengal at the start of April. In addition to official engagements, PM Narendra Modi has already conducted one rally in Bengal, and there are talks of his upcoming visit as well. Home Minister Amit Shah, along with other prominent BJP leaders, will also campaign in Bengal. Currently, reports suggest that Modi might hold a rally with all the candidates for the North Bengal seats during his April visit. However, the schedule for his Bengal tour has not yet been confirmed .

The party’s central leadership has extensively consulted with the state leadership regarding this issue. The finalization of the date and venue for Modi’s rally is expected within the next couple of days. On the other hand, there has been a deadlock in the negotiations between the Left and Congress alliance. CPI(M) Chairman Biman Bose has acknowledged that seat-sharing discussions are still unresolved. Congress has fielded Piya Ray Chaudhuri for the Cooch Behar seat, where the Left also has a candidate. Moreover, there has been a clash between Congress and the Left Front in the Purulia constituency. Both parties are under intense pressure to withdraw their candidates from these contested seats.

However, Congress remains steadfast in their position. Consequently, there appears to be no clear path forward for the alliance, as per reports. In Cooch Behar, the Left has nominated Nitesh Chandra Ray from the Forward Bloc. However, Congress has independently announced its candidate for the same seat. Although Saturday was the deadline for candidate withdrawals in Cooch Behar, Congress did not retract its candidate. As a result, it has been conveyed on behalf of the CPI(M) that they will contest this seat under the Left Front banner. Congress has raised a query, “Why is the Left against Nepal Mahato in Purulia?”


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