Third phase set to be litmus test for Trinamool Congress
Kolkata: The campaign in South Dinajpur, Murshidabad and Malda Lok Sabha seats came to an end on Sunday, with the three districts set to go to polls on Wednesday, April 23.
Election in the third phase of the seven phase Lok Sabha polls will be held in the Balurghat seat at
South Dinajpur, Jangipur and Murshidabad seats at Murshidabad and Malda South and Malda North seats at Malda.
Of the five seats, Trinamool had only won Balurghat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, with the party candidate Arpita Ghosh securing 1.06 lakh votes.
The Jangipur and Murshidabad seats were won by Abhijit Mukherjee and Badrudojja Khan. Mukherjee of Congress had won the seat by 8,161 votes, while Khan was elected by 18,453 votes.
Malda North and South were won by Congress. Mausam Benazir Noor, who has recently joined Trinamool Congress and is the party's nominee from the seat, got elected by 65,705 votes while AHA Khan Chowdhury won the seat by 64 lakh votes.
Political experts are of the opinion that these seats will be the litmus test for Trinamool Congress. The five seats are still considered to be Congress bastions.
Though Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, who has held meetings in all five Lok Sabha seats and urged the voters not to vote for Congress, BJP and CPI(M) as they will not be able to come to Delhi, it is to be seen whether the voters respond to her call or not.
Rahul Gandhi had also campaigned in Balurghat and Malda. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also addressed election meetings in the districts.
Meanwhile, Tollywood heartthrob and Trinamool Congress candidate from Ghatal Dev campaigned for Arpita Ghosh in Balurghat on Sunday. There was resentment against Ghosh due to her long absence in her constituency. However, Banerjee had clarified why Ghosh could not visit Balurghat frequently because of a road accident which kept her away.
In the Malda North seat, Noor has not left any stones unturned to retain the seat. She took part in road shows and visited every house, requesting people to cast the vote in her favour.
Political experts feel that in order to fulfill Banerjee's dream of securing 42 out of 42 seats in the state, Trinamool candidates will have to do extremely well in these three districts.
The chance of Trinamool Congress winning the seats is evenly poised and one has to wait for the people's verdict till May 23, when the results will be out.