Prime Minister Narendra Modi will come to the state for the fourth time on Thursday to campaign for party candidates.
He will be campaigning for Shamik Bhattacharya in Basirhat South and Roopa Ganguly in Howrah North constituencies where election would be held on April 25.
Never in the past has a Prime Minister come so many times to address rallies in favour of party nominees. Knowing full well that BJP has no chance in forming government in West Bengal, Modi is coming to Bengal mainly for two reasons. Firstly, except in Assam, BJP is non-existent in other states where election is held. So, if BJP fails to get seats in West Bengal, Congress will say that Modi wave has gone. Secondly, if Mamata Banerjee comes to power with less seats then it will be possible to control her.
Shamik Bhattacharya is BJP’s lone MLA from Basirhat South. In 2011 Narayan Mukherjee of CPI(M) defeated Narayan Goswami of Trinamool by 12,400 votes. The seat fell vacant after Mukherjee died and a by-election was held.
In 2014 Lok Sabha poll, in Basirhat South segment, Idris Ali of TMC got 46,358 votes while Nurul Huda of Left Front and Abdur Rahim Kazi of Congress got 42,336 votes and 24,626 votes respectively. Bhattacharya got 76,577 votes. This seat is a classic example how Modi wave had dashed in West Bengal within a few months after his coming to power in Delhi.
In September 2014, when the by-election was held a few months after Lok Sabha polls, Bhattacharya won by less than 2000 votes. His chances of retaining the seat are slim. He is pitted against Dipendu Biswas.
Roopa Ganguly, BJP state mahila Morcha president is contesting against Laxmi Ratan Shukla of TMC from Howrah North. Her chances of winning are also very slim. There is infighting in BJP. State BJP leadership hope that Modi’s presence would given the workers a major boost.