Dum Dum braces for fierce battle


The constituency has a history of changing its voting pattern in consecutive elections since 1977….reports Asian Lite News

Dum Dum Lok Sabha constituency in North 24 Parganas District, which has a history of changing its voting pattern in consecutive elections since 1977, will be an interesting watch this time, with three veteran politicians clashing with each other.

For Trinamool Congress’ three-time MP since 2009 from Dum Dum, Saugata Roy, the concern is his winning margin in 2019 which came down sharply to 52,999 from 1,54,934 in 2014.

The second factor that might be cause of concern for Saugata Roy is that the CPI(M) this time has fielded party veteran and central committee member, Dr Sujan Chakraborty, from Dum Dum, where his party still has a dedicated voter base.

In case Dr Sujan Chakraborty, with his vast experience in party organisation activities as well as electoral politics, is able to grab a substantial share of the anti-BJP votes from Dum Dum, it could be rough going for Saugata Roy.

At the same time, the BJP has fielded Shilbhadra Dutta, who as an erstwhile Trinamool Congress leader from North 24 Parganas District has substantial experience in handling the ruling party’s organisational affairs there.

Shilbhadra Dutta joined the BJP before the 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls and also contested unsuccessfully as the party’s candidate from Barrackpore Assembly constituency that year.

However, he was one of the few who did not rejoin the Trinamool Congress even after being defeated, which substantially enhanced his political credibility.

The factor that might make Dum Dum anybody’s game is the change in the voting pattern since 1977.

In 1977 it was the Janata Party’s Ashok Krishna Dutta who won from that constituency, but only for a single term.

In 1980, the CPI(M)’s Niren Ghosh emerged as the victor from Dum Dum. However the equation changed again in 1984, when the Congress’ Asutosh Laha got elected from the constituency.

Thereafter, the CPI(M)’s Nirmal Kanti Chatterjee got elected from Dum Dum for three consecutive terms in 1989, 1991 and 1996.

In 1998 BJP’s Tapan Sikdar emerged as the surprise winner from Dum Dum and he got re-elected from the same constituency again in 1999. Again in 2004, Sikdar got defeated by CPI(M)’s Amitava Nandy.

However, since 2009 Dum Dum has become a Trinamool Congress bastion with Saugata Roy winning three consecutive terms, though with fluctuating margins.

So since 1977, none of the parties have managed to retain the seat for more than three consecutive terms and going by that logic Saugata Roy, too, has reached the optimum level of Dum Dum’s victory records.

Considering the twin-factors of Saugata Roy’s fluctuating victory margins and the strong anti-incumbency wave against the Trinamool Congress this time, it can be said that the battle for the ruling party candidate and the retired professor of Physics will be an easy one this time.

Dum Dum with a strength of over 15 lakh voters, is basically a middle class-dominated constituency with a substantial population of refugee voters who had come to India from Bangladesh post-Partition.

TMC to attend ‘maha rally’ against Kejriwal’s arrest

Trinamool Congress intends to participate in the March 31 rally organised by the INDIA bloc in protest against the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by the Enforcement Directorate, according to sources. The rally, termed as a ‘maha rally’, is scheduled to take place at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan following Kejriwal’s arrest in connection with a money-laundering case related to excise policy on March 21. Although the TMC has distanced itself from the opposition’s alliance following failed seat-sharing discussions with the Congress in West Bengal, it affirms its membership in the INDIA bloc as a coalition opposing the ideology of the ruling BJP.

TMC sources have confirmed that the party will dispatch two representatives to the rally without disclosing their names. Last week, the ruling party of West Bengal dispatched senior leader Derek O’Brien to join opposition leaders in meeting the Chief Election Commissioner, presenting a memorandum alleging the ruling BJP’s “unrelenting, blatant, and illegal deployment of central agencies” to target and intimidate opposition parties.

During the meeting, INDIA bloc leaders, including TMC’s Nadimul Haque, Congress leaders KC Venugopal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, AAP leaders Sandeep Pathak and Pankaj Gupta, NCP-SCP leader Jitendra Awhad, DMK’s P Wilson, and Javed Ali of the SP, submitted a list of recent incidents wherein central agencies targeted opposition parties, highlighting the absence of a level playing field for the opposition.

Among the incidents cited were the CBI’s filing of an FIR against TMC’s Mahua Moitra, raids and arrests of leaders from parties not affiliated with the INDIA bloc like the BRS, raids and arrests related to former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Yadav’s aide, the arrest of Hemant Soren, and the freezing of Congress’ accounts, among others.

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