After three action-packed voting days, the state of West Bengal and its 44 assembly seats will be up for grabs in the fourth phase of the elections, scheduled to be held tomorrow. However, this particular phase has grabbed more eyeballs than any previous phase as the Hooghly district and its crucial constituencies in the industrial belt will decide who gets to sit on the CM throne. Out of 18 assembly seats in the region, voting is to be held in 10 seats of Uttarpara, Shrirampur, Champdani, the well-known Singur, Chandannagar, Chunchuda, Balagarh, Pandua, Saptagram and Chanditalla assembly seats.
It was Singur where the Left government forcibly tried to build the Tata Nano plant, only for Mamata Banerjee to fully exploit the issue and throw away the communist regime after 34-years and storm into power. Since then, it was a given that Mamata had a hold in the Hooghly area. But after 2016 Assembly election win, things started changing and quickly turned worse for the TMC supremo.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Debutant politician, Locket Chatterjee defeated the two-time-MP, Ratna De Nag in Hooghly and send shockwaves across the TMC cadre, which hadn’t seen it coming. According to media reports, after the crushing defeat, the TMC chief had held a two-hour-long closed-door meeting with the district unit leaders, and called for the ‘traitors’ to leave the party rather than weakening it from inside. Little did Mamata know that calling her loyal supporters, a ‘Traitor’ after an electoral defeat will backfire two years later when majority of them would have shifted flanks and gone with the BJP.
It is imperative to understand that in the 2016 assembly elections, the ruling TMC won 16 out of the 18 seats in Hooghly, while the CPI-M and the Champdani assembly seat were captured by the Congress in Pandua seat. However, in the 2019 General elections, barring 4-5 seats in the region, BJP dominated every single seat which is expected to translate in tomorrow’s polling as well.
In Singur, BJP has nominated 88-year-old Rabindranath Bhattacharya who has won elections from the seat four times in a row on TMC ticket. Rabindranath was, one of the main man for Mamata who stood shoulder to shoulder with her during the peak Singur movement and later orchestrated her win in the region.
A strong anti-incumbency wave aided by tidal Modi wave, discontent over local leadership and defections has already caused turmoil within the TMC ranks. The ruling party has dropped sitting MLAs in places like Singur, Pandua, Balagarh, Tarakeshwar, Pursurah and Khanakul. Replaced candidate in Arambag and interchanged probables in Haripal (sitting MLA Becharam Manna’s wife will contest the seat as he gets moved to Singur).
The last moment rejig of the seats further points out to Mamata’s growing uneasiness regarding the fortunes in the region. The TMC supremo fears that the BJP wave will roll her down and emerge victorious. And once Hooghly is breached, it will be difficult for her to fashion any comeback.
Mamata has already started throwing in the towel as was evident during the previous phase polling when one of her MLAs hijacked four Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and four Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs).
The incident came to light after a ‘Sector 17’ election duty car was found parked outside the TMC leader’s house. According to media reports, the EVMs and VVPATs were brought to the residence of the TMC leader by Tapan Sarkar, a sector officer, in an election duty car.
Read More: Frustrated by the drubbing received in first two phases, TMC resorts to EVM capturing ahead of the third phase
Mamata has been seemingly trying to find a window to somehow disrupt the entire polling process. On April 1, during the phase-2 polling, Didi went inside the Boyal poll booth in Nandigram and camped there for a good hour or two and created a mindless ruckus.
Claiming that the central forces were not allowing the locals to cast vote, Mamata sitting in the booth called up the governor of the state and asked him to take cognisance of the issue. Importantly enough, the entire PR stunt was elaborately staged in front of the media cameras and Mamata completed the entire scene in one take.
Read more: Election Commission destroys Mamata’s allegations about Central forces not allowing people to vote.
Hooghly is expected to be the final nail in the coffin for TMC and its leader’s unique theatrics. Mamata won’t just lose the Hooghly area, she will be decimated.
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