A safe seat for Congress might see a poll reverse as majority of the people are against the alliance between Congress and CPI(M).
Manas Bhuniya’s hobnobbing with CPI(M) has not gone well in the area as unlike the leaders it has become difficult for the people to forget the red terror unleashed by the CPI(M) between 1977-2011. The CPI(M) was instrumental in defeating the son of the soil Bhuniya between 2001-06. Between 2006-11, Bhuniya’s main target was CPI(M). In every meeting he used to criticise CPI(M) and in the Assembly he was main speaker against CPI(M). Local people have always appreciated his spirit and his all out effort to oust CPI(M). The alliance between Trinamool and Congress became successful in driving out the CPI(M) and put an end to the misrule.
Sabang was under red control for three decades from end 1970s. Even the Congress leaders won’t be able to say how many of their party workers were assaulted, tortured, heckled and killed. But despite red terror, Sabang had maintained its identity and that was because of Bhuniya.
In 2011 Assembly election, Bhuniya who was a member of Congress-TMC alliance, had won the seat. He got 98.755 votes while the Left Front candidate Ramapada Sahu of Biplalabi banglka Congress, a LF ally got 85,571 votes. In 2014 Lok Sabha election, Trinamool Congress got 61,990 votes while Congress got 65, 659 votes and Left Front got 65, 727 votes. Thus, the collected votes of LF and Congress are far more than TMC.
In this backdrop , Bhuniya who had initially opposed the alliance gave his nod for it and went two steps ahead of holding joint meetings and rallies with CPI(M).
The leaders of both CPI(M) and Congress are going by statistical figure and have put Bhuniya ahead of his Trinamool opponent. What they have missed is human sentiment. Local people and a large number of rank and file of Congress are not in favour of the alliance and if there is not 100% vote transfer, Bhuniya will be in trouble.
Bhuniya is confident of his win. “People are with me and they will protest against TMC’s misrule,” he said. We will have to wait till May 19 to see whether local people are with Bhuniya or the erosion has taken place without his knowledge.