Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is confident of increasing her margin in Bhowanipore Assembly constituency despite canards spread by the Opposition and a section of media that she is going to face a tough contest and retaining the seat will be a difficult proposition.
Banerjee is pitted against Deepa Das Munshi of Congress and Chandra Bose of BJP.
Once, Bhowanipore which was a part of Chowringhee Assembly constituency was a Congress bastion. In the Kolkata Municipal Corporation the Left Front had fielded either weak candidates or nominees from the partners as they thought that it would be a sheer wastage of manpower. In 1972 Priya Ranjan Das Munshi had defeated Ganesh Ghosh, veteran CPI(M) leader and one of the revolutionaries of Chittagong armoury raid.
But over the years the Congress base in the area got eroded and the leaders and followers shifted their allegiance to Trinamool Congress. Today the Congress does not have any worker or leader.
With this backdrop, 2016 Assembly election is being fought. For survival Das Munshi is banking on CPI(M) workers who are writing graffiti for her and put up placards, posters and flags in her support. The veteran Congressmen of the area did not like this and a sizeable percentage of them will not vote for her.
BJP’s Chandra Bose is a newcomer to politics. His only qualification is that he is the grand nephew of Netaji. BJP does not have any organisation but its candidate got 47,456 votes and took a lead. Congress candidate got 15,884 votes and Left Front nominee got 21,954 votes in this segment. In 2011, Subrata Bakshi defeated Narayan Prasad Jain of CPI(M) by 49,936 votes. That Mamata magic is working in the area was evident when on Sunday thousands of people joined her road show. Every balcony along Harish Mukherjee was packed with people and they waved at her showing their support. On Monday she met people of the area along with party workers at a meeting and this too got overwhelming response. A sizeable percentage of non Bengali voters who had voted for BJP in Lok Sabha polls will cast their votes in favour of Banerjee this time. Many of the old buildings in the area have been pulled down and non Bengali people have come to the new flats. They have assured every cooperation to her. Waterlogging in Bhowanipore particularly Shyamananda Road, Bakul Bagan Road and Row, Lansdowne Lane, Ramesh Mitra Road, a stretch on Roy Street, Chakraberia Road was massive. But in the past few years this problem has been ironed out. The problem of drinking water crisis in some pockets has been reduced and many roads have been upgraded with mastic asphalt. The roads including the lanes and by lanes are brightly illuminated. We will have to wait till May 19 to find out by how much margin Banerjee has increased.