The first phase of elections begins in West Bengal Thursday with four constituencies – Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Coochbehar – going to polls. While Darjeeling was won by BJP’s Jaswant Singh last time, the other three seats were won by Left Front constituents – CPM in Jalpaiguri, RSP in Alipurduar and Forward Bloc in Cooch Behar.
Mamata Banerjee’s dream of emerging as the third largest national party by winning most of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal depends much on Trinamool Congress wresting some of these seats.
Of these four seats, the most prestigious is undoubtedly Darjeeling, where the BJP-Gorkha Janmukti Morcha candidate, S S Ahluwalia, will find it hard to defend Jaswant Singh’s victory margin of 268,000 in 2009. His nearest rival was CPM’s Jibesh Sarkar who has been replaced by Saman Pathak this time.
Ahluwalia’s biggest threat is TMC’s celebrity candidate Baichung Bhutia. Backed by Mamata’s extraordinary campaign – she has made repeated trips to the hills and plains – the Darjeeling contest has assumed an extremely competitive edge. If the GJM holds sway over the three hill assembly segments, Didi has established a solid base in the four assembly segments in the plains.
But with the BJP striking deals with another regional player — Kamtapur People’s Party and a faction of the Adivasi Vikas Parishad – Mamata should be worried as it has the potential to split TMC votes in the plains.
- Shah Rukh Khan On Raees Clash With Kaabil: It’s Impossible To Have A Solo Release In India
- US-President Elect Donald Trump Named TIME’s Person Of The Year 2016
- O. Panneerselvam: 10 Things You Need To Know
- PM Narendra Modi Slams Opposition For Not Letting Parliament Function
- Nawazuddin Siddiqui On Working In Raees: Was Nervous To Shoot With Shah Rukh Khan
- Bathinda Dancer Murder: Video Showing Accused Opening Fire At Marriage
- 5 Lesser Known Facts About Sasikala Natarajan
- Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor’s Delhi Home Burgled: Here’s What Happened
- Reserve Bank Of India Keeps Repo Rate Unchanged Post Demonetisation
- Bigg Boss 10 Dec 06 Review: Swami Om Pees In Kitchen
- Lenovo k6 Power Video Review
- Bigg Boss 10 December 5 Review: Manveer Calls Swami Om ‘kachdaa’
- PM Narendra Modi Declared Winner Of TIME Magazine’s Person Of The Year – Reader’s Poll
- Paneerselvam sworn in as new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
- Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa Passes Away After Suffering Cardiac Arrest
In Jalpaiguri, the CPM is ahead, at least on paper. It has held the seat for last several terms with a significant superior vote share. In Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar the BJP is likely to emerge as a major force and may upset earlier trends. The Trinamool Congress has made deep inroads in Alipurduar, having effected defections from the RSP. The BJP too has high hopes from its alliance with GJM here and in other North Bengal seats.
In Alipurduar and Cooch Behar, the BJP traditionally has a high vote share which could go up significantly. The GJM and KPP support may add to those gains.