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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Booth hopping to remaining alert: CM’s lieutenants leave no margin for error

At other locations, state ministers were hopping from one booth to another and remained alert to malpractices.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
October 1, 2021 5:30:19 am
TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee. (Express Photo: Partha Paul)

At the TMC office in Northern Park around 9 am, party’s Rashbehari MLA Debashish Kumar and local councillor Ashim Bose along with five-six workers were keeping an eye on complaints by voters — and the movement of BJP leaders and workers in the Bhabanipur Assembly constituency.
A few minutes later, Bose was alerted that BJP leader Kalyan Chaubey was “trying to influence voters”. The team swung into action and tailed Chaubey with two-three bikes.

At other locations, state ministers were hopping from one booth to another and remained alert to malpractices.

As Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee aims to enter the Bidhan Sabha Bhaban after losing to BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari by 1,956 votes in the recent Assembly polls, she fielded her trusted lieutenants to ensure her victory with a big margin in Bhabanipur. Mamata has to win the seat to retain CM’s post.

Among veteran leaders who were seen making rounds to polling booths were Subrata Baksi, Subrata Mukherjee, Partha Chatterjee, Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra, Mamata’s election agent Baiswanor Chatterjee, Mamata’s brother Kartik Banerjee and Sovandev Chattopadhyay.

Mamata called these leaders, and gathered the latest news and voter turnout of different areas.

“Our main challenge is to increase the victor margin from the May election. In that election, Sovandev Chattopadhyay won by almost 29,000 votes, and our challenge is to increase this margin to 50,000,” said a senior TMC leader. Chattopadhyay had vacated his seat for Mamata, who had won it in 2016.

“Mamata Banerjee will win the election with a huge margin. All the opposition candidates will remain way behind her,” said the leader.
To achieve this, the TMC war-room directed all its workers to vote. Hakim and Chatterjee were on the ground to ensure 100 per cent voting by TMC supporters.

However, the BJP complained to the Election Commission, alleging that Hakim and other TMC leaders were “influencing voters”.

“Since morning, Minister Shri Firhad Hakim has been seen influencing voters all over the constituency. Now Minister Shri Subrata Mukherjee is seen influencing voters. This is a gross violation of the (EC) rules. These two ministers should be immediately detained in a police station outside the area of this constituency till at least the polling process is over,” the BJP complained to EC.

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