Over 1 crore voters in poll fray for 8 constituencies in Jangalmahal
Kolkata: Around 1.19 crore people will exercise their franchise on Sunday, in the eight Jangalmahal constituencies of Tamluk, Ghatal, Midnapore, Contai, Jhargram, Bankura, Bishnupur and Purulia.
Trinamool had won from all these constituencies in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Political experts feel that while Trinamool will try to keep the seats intact, BJP will try to make a dent in the party's stronghold.
In Midnapore, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh is contesting against Manas Bhuniya. Ghosh is an MLA from Kharagpur Town constituency, who had defeated veteran Congress leader Gyan Singh Sohanpal in the 2016 Assembly elections.
Sandhya Roy had won the seat in 2014 by 1.85 lakh votes. Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee replaced Roy by Bhuniya, a veteran politician. Both Narendra Modi and Banerjee have addressed rallies in favour of their nominees in the area.
In Ghatal, Tollywood actor Dipak Adhikari popularly known as Dev, had won the seat by 2.60 lakh votes in 2014. He is contesting against Bharati Ghosh, a former police officer who recently joined BJP and has no experience in politics.
Former Panchayat and Rural Development minister Subrata Mukherjee is contesting from the Bankura seat, which Moon Moon Sen had won by 98,000 votes in 2014, whereas in Bishnupur, Trinamool's nominee is Shyamal Santra. Saumitra Khan, who had won the seat by 1.49 lakh votes in 2014 and has recently joined BJP, is contesting against Santra.
In Jhargram, Trinamool Congress nominee Birbaha Soren Tudu is contesting. Party candidate Uma Soren had earlier won the seat by 3.87 lakh votes. In Purulia, Trinamool candidate Mriganko Mahato has been renominated.
Political experts feel that while BJP had won seats in the Panchayat elections in Purulia, Bankura and Jhargram, the party has failed to strengthen its base and organisation in these areas. This will make it difficult for the party to make inroads in the Adivasi belt, where Trinamool's main weapon is massive development carried out in the past seven years, including construction of bridges, roads, hospitals, educational institutions and a university in Purulia. There is not a single family that has not been benefitted by the schemes taken up by the state government.