Fate of several star candidates to be decided in fourth phase LS polls in Bengal


This time, these eight seats will see a total of 75 candidates in the fray, but all eyes will be on the constituencies spread across the middle of Bengal…reports Asian Lite News

Eight Lok Sabha seats spread across five districts of West Bengal will go to polls in the fourth phase of elections scheduled for 13 May, Monday. Around 1.5 crore voters will be eligible to exercise their franchise across the eight seats. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, out of the eight seats, the Trinamool Congress won four, the BJP won three and the Congress one seat.

This time, these eight seats will see a total of 75 candidates in the fray, but all eyes will be on the constituencies spread across the middle of Bengal which will see political heavyweights and well-known names battle it out.

Among the notable names are state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who is contesting from Baharampur against challenger Yusuf Pathan, Shatrughan Sinha from Asansol on a Trinamool Congress ticket against BJP’s S.S. Ahluwalia, and three-time Trinamool MP and former actor Satabdi Roy seeking a fourth term from Birbhum.

Star campaigners like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari have campaigned extensively in these seats for the BJP candidates while the Trinamool Congress supremo and party number two Abhishek Banerjee have crisscrossed these seats relentlessly to drum up support for their party candidates.


The biggest question dominating all political discourses here is whether the Congress will be able to retain its last bastion in West Bengal.

The Baharampur Lok Sabha seat in Murshidabad district has thrown up a triangular contest with state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a five-time MP out to defend his fiefdom from his Trinamool Congress and BJP challengers.

In a bitter fight between I.N.D.I.A allies, the Trinamool Congress has imported its biggest surprise, World Cup winning cricketer Yusuf Pathan all the way from Gujarat. This has given its opponents the chance to criticise its “outsider” choice since the Trinamool Congress has always criticised the BJP as “bohiragoto party” (party of outsiders).

The BJP has fielded well-known local surgeon Dr Nirmal Kumar Saha who is known for his helpful and affable nature.

For the past five terms since 1999, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has been benefiting from the Muslim votes in the constituency where 52% of the voters are from the minority community.

This time, with the nomination of Yusuf Pathan, the votes of the Muslim youth are expected to go to the Trinamool Congress.

One big worry for Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has been his dwindling vote margins in the past three elections. Though Chowdhury has had an iron grip over his constituency since 1999, his victory margin dipped from 356,277 in 2014 to just 79,694 in 2019.

The 2021 Assembly election results also illustrate that the Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha may have a tough fight on his hands.

In the 2016 state election, the Congress swept all the seven Assembly segments that are part of the Baharampur Lok Sabha seat; in 2021, however, the BJP bagged the Baharampur Assembly seat, while the other six went to the Trinamool Congress. The Mamata Banerjee-led party won 50.1% of the votes across these segments, followed by the BJP at 31.6%, and the Congress at 15.1%. It was a significant shift from 2016, when the Congress won these segments with a 45.9% vote share, followed far behind by the Trinamool Congress at 24.9%.

Though cricketer-turned-politician Yusuf Pathan has been campaigning relentlessly against the state’s sole Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the BJP may benefit from the triangular fight in this Muslim-dominated seat.


After the BJP MP from Asansol, Babul Supriyo—smarting after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took away his Ministership—resigned and joined the Trinamool Congress, bypolls were held in Asansol in 2022. Trinamool Congress candidate Shatrughan Sinha won the seat with a margin of more than two lakh votes.

The BJP’s tryst began inauspiciously. It initially named Bhojpuri singer and actor Pawan Singh for the seat. But then the Trinamool social media dug up his songs and circulated the videos of some of his songs which were considered derogatory to Bengali women. After a long wait, criticised by its opponents, the BJP nominated its two-term party MP S.S. Ahluwalia from the seat.

Though a local man from Asansol, Ahluwalia is being painted as a “political vagabond” by the Trinamool Congress. He had represented Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat in 2014-19 and adjoining Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha seat between 2019-24. He is contesting against Trinamool Congress candidate Shatrughan Sinha.

The issues of closed industries and flight of capital are crucial to Asansol, and the Trinamool Congress is hoping, despite its lacklustre performance on the ground, that Bihari Babu Shatrughan Sinha will romp home buoyed by the support of voters whose roots, like his, are in neighbouring Bihar.


Birbhum district, where both the seats Bolpur and Birbhum were won by the Trinamool Congress in 2019, has thrown up an interesting contest. The Trinamool Congress has re-nominated its three-time MP Satabdi Roy for the seat.

This year, Birbhum came into the limelight when the BJP named former IPS officer Debasish Dhar as its candidate. Dhar was targeted and sidelined by Mamata Banerjee when, during the 2021 Assembly elections, Central forces opened fire in Sitalkuchi in Jalpaiguri district, killing five people.

Though Mamata Banerjee blamed Dhar for issuing the firing order, the former IPS maintains he was made a scapegoat. In fact, the first order that Mamata Banerjee signed after becoming the Chief Minister in May 2021, was the one suspending Debasish Dhar.

Fed up after being kept on compulsory wait and being accused of corruption, Dhar resigned to contest the elections on a BJP ticket. However, the Mamata Banerjee government refused to give him a “no dues certificate” without which his candidature would have been cancelled.

At the eleventh hour, when Suvendu Adhikari came to know of the possibility that the Trinamool would romp home uncontested after Dhar’s nomination papers were cancelled, the BJP brass swung into action to put up another candidate, its long-time karyakarta Debtanu Bhattacharya.

Though in the last Lok Sabha elections, Satabdi Roy received 45.5% votes, compared to 39% polled by her BJP contestant, the going may not be so easy this time.

Inter and intra-party violence have dominated politics in Birbhum which was masterminded by Trinamool Congress strongman Anubrata Mondal who controlled both the party organisation and the administration. For more than a year now, Mondal has been in Tihar Jail for his alleged involvement in cattle, coal and sand smuggling and hence it will be a fifty-fifty game.

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