Trinamool Congress candidate Laxmi Ratan Shukla will be facing a turning wicket in North Howrah. Experts say that if he hits the right ball and leaves the wrong ones then no one can stop him from scoring a century.
Political observers say that replacing the sitting MLA Ashok Ghosh might become costly for Trinamool Congress. Though Ghosh has denied infighting there is a strong undercurrent against the party’s nominee in this constituency. It is said that all the factions will bury the hatchet a day or two before the election and political analysts say that if it doesn’t happen then for Shukla every ball he faces will be a risky one.
Another important factor is the fielding of Congress candidate Santosh Pathak from the Assembly Constituency. Initially BJP was also considered to be a tough contender here with fielding of actor turned politician Roopa Ganguly, but infighting that led to the suspension of three senior leaders of the party a few days ahead of the elections left a deep impact on the electorates. The BJP leadership, however, claimed that the problem of infighting has been ironed out.
Keeping the factors in mind the Trinamool Congress leadership in the district and from the Assembly constituency is leaving no stone unturned to assure a win for Shukla by ironing out the problems.
Based on Modi wave, BJP’s vote percentage in 2014 Lok Sabha polls in North Howrah Assembly constituency had gone up to 33.78 per cent from 13.22 per cent in 2011 Assembly election. A good percentage of electorates in the constituency are non-Bengali Hindi speaking people. A majority of these section of the electorates had cast their votes in favour of BJP in the Lok Sabha when CPI(M) and Congress had fielded their respective candidates. According to the political experts, taking advantage of the BJP’s infighting Congress here is trying to swing as many of the BJP votes in their favour as possible. Trinamool Congress is well aware of the fact.
But the good sign for Trinamool Congress in respect of vote figure is that in the Lok Sabha polls the party had bagged 28,392 votes more than that of the combined votes of Congress and CPI(M). Thus a swing of a good percentage of the BJP’s 45,446 votes in their favour has come up as the only hope for the Congress-CPI(M) alliance to get a win. Trinamool Congress is, however, eyeing the same to increase their margin.
Congress’s Sanotosh Pathak from North Kolkata is a well known face in Howrah. The reason being a good number of the residents from Howrah North Assembly constituency are having business ties with Burabazar where Pathak is an important personality.
On the other hand, Mamata Banerjee’s nominee Shukla’s national stature as a cricketer and a solid hold of Trinamool Congress in the area are the factors those keeping him ahead in the race, according to the political analysts.
They claim that BJP’s Roopa Ganguly would not be able to leave a mark in this election as retaining the votes that the party had received in Lok Sabha elections has become a major challenge for her due to infighting.