September 6, 2021 1:55:24 pm
In 2011, when the Trinamool Congress ended the Left Front’s three-decades-long rule, Mamata Banerjee, who did not contest the polls then, had fallen back upon Bhabanipur constituency to retain the chief minister’s seat.
Lifting the cloud of uncertainty over Mamata continuing as the Chief Minister beyond November 5, the Election Commission has declared bypolls in Bhabanipur on September 30, thereby clearing the decks for the TMC supremo to contest from there.
The counting for the bypolls in three Assembly seats in Bengal and one in Odisha is scheduled for October 3. As Mamata was sworn in as the Chief Minister of West Bengal on May 5 despite losing to Adhikari, she had to win from another seat and become a member of the Assembly within six months to carry on as the chief minister.
In the 2021 Assembly polls, Agriculture Minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay won the seat with a margin of over 28,000 votes, polling a whooping 57 per cent of the votes. However, on May 21, he vacated the seat to enable Mamata to be elected to the Assembly.
Regarded as “mini-Bharat” by many TMC leaders, including Chattopadhyay, the constituency consists of a sizable population of Punjabis and Gujaratis, besides Bengalis. In fact, non-Bengalis make up for more than 40 per cent of the population in Bhabanipur.
The constituency is regarded as Mamata’s bastion as she has been serving the area as an MLA for around a decade. Born on Harish Chatterjee Street in Kalighat, she is enrolled as a voter at Serial No 333 in part number 209. It is also in this area that Mamata started her political journey as a students’ leader at Jogamaya Devi College.
In 2011, Subrata Bakshi of the TMC had defeated CPI(M)’s Narayan Prasad Jain by over 50,000 votes. However, Mamata had won a bypoll from Bhabanipur to hold on to her chair.
In the 2016 Assembly elections, Mamata had won the seat by securing 65,520 votes, defeating veteran Congress leader Deepa Dasmunshi who had got 40,219 votes.
However, in the 2019 parliamentary elections, Trinamoo’s supremacy over the area suffered a blow as their candidate Mala Roy was ahead of the BJP’s Chandra Kumar Bose by only 3,168 votes. Although Roy did go on to win the Calcutta South constituency, this was the first time since 2011 that the TMC was given such a close contest in the Chief Minister’s bastion.
According to the Election Commission, voter turnout in Bhabanipur in the previous Assembly elections stands at around 66.83 per cent. As per the latest data, the constituency has 64,395 men and 58,593 women.
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