If development is considered to be an important factor to determine the fate of a candidate in an election, Amit Mitra, State Finance Minister is much ahead of his predecessor Asim Dasgupta in Khardah Assembly Constituency in North 24-Parganas where elections will be held on April 25.
Like the previous Assembly elections, Khardah is going to witness a clash of two titans where incumbent Mitra is pitted against Dasgupta who was the former state Finance Minister. Mitra had defeated Dasgupta in 2011 and succeeded him as Finance Minister in Mamata Banerjee government. A strong buzz is doing a round here in Khardah this time about who will be victorious. Will Mitra be able to retain the seat or will the alliance between CPI(M) and Congress play spoilsport.
Mitra and Trinamool Congress leaders in Khardah are confident about their victory and are campaigning on the basis of widespread development works which were done in the last four and half years. More than Rs 100 crore was allotted from various government department for the development of Khardah. All the municipal wards have received Rs 30-35 lakh each. Around 29 crore was spent for rural development. People are getting better drinking water, condition of roads was improved, street lights were set up and the drainage system was improved. An electric pyre has been set up in Khardah which was a public demand for a long time. Two compactor machines have also been installed. Mitra also proposed to set up a railway underpass which is the need of the hour. More development will take place if he is again voted to power, Mitra assured the people of Khardah during his door to door campaign. Sumit Biswas, a resident Bandipur area in Khardah a private firm employee said work have been done in all the areas in the past four and half years.
The Opposition parties are saying that it would not be an easy fight from Trinamool Congress as the CPI(M) and Congress will put up a joint fight. They expect that they will win back a substantial part of its support base in the urban and rural pockets. The Left parties had lost an estimated 35,000 voters to the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Gaining this back with the support of Congress may swing the poll in favour of Dasgupta, CPI(M) believes. The substantial amount of votes which were cast in favour of BJP during the last Lok Sabha elections can be a decisive factor. Though, the BJP this time has fielded its candidate Mahadev Basak from Khardah, a substantial portion of its votes will be transferred either to Trinamool Congress or the alliance. It can be expected the potential BJP voters will cast their votes in favour of Mitra as he has carried out many development works in his constituency. In the last Lok Sabha election, Trinamool Congress in this Assembly constituency managed to get 46.11 per cent votes, CPI(M) 26.29 per cent whereas the BJP had secured 22.23 per cent votes due to the Modi wave which now has died down. So the BJP votes are crucial. Senior Trinamool Congress leaders believe that BJP votes will go in favour of TMC this time.
Will the alliance be able to make any impact? Sukantha Banik, Vice Chairman of the Khardah municipality and the election agent of Mitra said that Congress has maximum 3 per cent of votes which will hardly make any impact even after combining with the CPI(M)’s vote share. In 2011 Assembly poll, Mitra had secured 83,608 votes and defeated Dasgupta by a margin of more than 26 thousand votes. People still remember how various industrial units in Khardah were closed down during the Left front rule.
“The unholy alliance will hardly make any impact in the election. There is no reason that people will vote against Mitra who has brought a sea of change in development. People of Khardah have seen that how pathetically Dasgupta had performed. If the funds were sanctioned, they were not used for development due to some CPI(M) Zilla Parishad leaders. If we go by statistics the combination of vote share of the two parties is much less than that of Trinamool Congress,” Banik said.