It is certain that Sobhan Chatterjee, mayor and Trinamool Congress nominee from Behala East constituency, will return with the increased margin in the 2016 Assembly elections.
Intense mass contact, organisation and hard work have made Chatterjee sure of retaining the seat.
Chatterjee was the youngest councillor when the Kolkata Municipal Corporation introduced mayor-in-council system and held election in 1985. Behala, which was under South Suburban Municipality, had just come under the KMC.
The aspiration of people was sky high. Though it was a part of Kolkata, but there were water bodies, narrow roads with poor infrastructure and there was drinking water scarcity.
It was a red bastion. But despite that Sobhan became a councillor because of his immense popularity.
Chatterjee is successful in keeping his popularity and vote bank intact. In 2011, he defeated Kum Kum Chakraborty of CPI(M) by a margin of 48, 173 votes. In 2014 election, the Trinamool Congress took a lead of 21,576 votes in this segment. Thus statistically the TMC is in a sound position in Behala.
Chatterjee is a councillor of the KMC from 1985. He was the member of mayor-in-council in-charge of water supply between 2000-05 when Subrata Mukherjee was the mayor.
Over the years Behala has been given a new look. There is shopping mall, roads are properly maintained and brightly illuminated and the parks are also renovated. Morning and evening walkers throng around these parks which they could not have thought a decade ago.
Drinking water was a major problem in Behala. Now booster pumping stations have come up and people are getting piped water. The pockets where drinking water crisis still persists will be ironed out as soon as construction of a booster station is on.
Chatterjee, a veteran politician, is not ready to take one per cent risk. He completed door-to-door campaign and road shows.
Those who live in Behala know very well that in times of need they will get Kanan, Sobhan’s nick name, by their side. Unlike other areas, there is no infighting in the Trinamool Congress.
Ambikesh Mahapatra is pitted against him. Mahapatra is backed by the CPI(M). He is a member of Amra Akranto and came to limelight after he was arrested in connection with the cartoon case.
“An apparently feeble opponent is dangerous and so I have visited every house and people can see the development that has taken place in Behala,” Chatterjee said, adding, “We will have to wait till May 19 to see with how much more votes he is returned this time.”