Didi faces 'delimitation' challenge

Didi faces 'delimitation' challenge

An uphill task: Mamata seeks consecutive seventh win

Didi faces 'delimitation' challenge

On her maiden electoral battle, she had emerged as a giant killer, decimating Marxist stalwart Somnath Chatterjee in 1984.

As she is seeking a consecutive seventh win in the 15th parliamentary polls this year, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee faces an uphill task in the South Kolkata constituency, negotiating another rival: delimitation.

The six-time MP and the opposition’s star campaigner has been busy criss-crossing the nook and corner of Bengal, relegating the responsibility of “managing” the home turf to the party’s local leaders.

However, after a series of aggressive electioneering by a section of the Left intellectuals, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee and CPM general secretary Prakas Karat in her bastion, the Marxists claim to have prised open a lot of chinks in the Trinamool armour, thanks to a well-planned delimitation exercise.

By one fell stroke, many TMC strongholds have been sliced off and Marxists’ territories have been included in the South Kolkata constituency. As a result, Mamata, who defeated her CPM rival Rabin Deb by nearly one lakh votes in the 2004 poll, begins with a deficit of about 75,000 votes this time.

This is based purely on the calculation of the 2006 corporation and assembly election results as these segments provided a lead to the Marxist nominee. “The situation is different now; I’ve lost some of my strong assembly segments and I am not sure what’ll happen this time,”  Mamata chipped in with a smile. A cool and calculated Communist as he is, Deb lost no time in adding: “She has been calling for a change everywhere; why not kick off this change from her constituency?”

Hard work

The message has been driven hard to CPM workers who have blazed the scorching summer sun in April and May to make a house-to-house contact in Trinamool strongholds besides strengthening their backyard.

Using his oratory, Deb has been touring every nook and corner of the constituency which his rival could hardly match. Even the slums that had never seen any VIP presence in the past, are all of a sudden decked with lights for an evening street corner meeting or so as Deb announces his arrival modestly.

Slaming Mamata’s stand on industrialisation at her home turf, he said in a satirical vein: “If Mamata wins, Bengal will have to be satisfied with producing potatoes and cucumbers. But, the CPM wants both agriculture and industrialisation, which should go hand-in-hand.”

Didi’s poll managers aren’t sitting idle either; wearing specially- designed Mamata masks, they have been marching around the constituency to compensate for the absence of their much-sought-after leader.

“I know, I spend the least possible time in my own constituency for campaigning. I completely depend on the goodwill of the voters,” conceded  Mamata.

Wouldn’t this generate a negative impact on the results? “Not at all, she does not require to be present everywhere,” claimed the local TMC leaders.

“The CPM’s calculations on the basis of corporation and assembly polls are just absurd.
Mamata’s image as a fighter against the ills of governance is enough to ensure her victory. Despite the merger of pro-TMC segments with other constituency, she would win comfortably,” said TMC Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy. When said that Mamata’s victory margin in the 2004 LS poll went down by a whopping 1,17,000 votes, he termed it as an accident.

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