Krishnanagar poised for a triangular fight

Krishnanagar poised  for a triangular fight

 The parliamentary constituency of Krishnanagar, a settlement older than Kolkata, is all set to witness a triangular fight between the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Left and the BJP.

While sitting MP Tapas Pal of the TMC is eyeing a second term, he is likely to face a stiff fight by Santanu Jha of the CPM and former MP Satyabrata Mookherjee of the BJP.

TMC sources said Pal is on a sticky wicket with complaints of being absent from the constituency and not raising the relevant issues in Parliament. Added to this is his failure to meet the promise of providing infrastructure, the lack of which is a major bane for people here.

While development is on top of the poll plank, rural electrification and soil erosion in areas along river Jalangi are other prime issues.

The constituency also has a sizeable Muslim population, along with a chunk of Christian voters.
Although the Congress hopes that its newcomer Razia Ahmed will tap into the minority vote bank, it may not be as easy as it sounds since the TMC and the Left would also draw minority votes.

Around 100 km north of Kolkata, the constituency in Nadia district is a settlement along river Jalangi, which takes a different avatar during the monsoon. People cross the river with the help of a bamboo bridge in summer. Pal has promised to build a concrete bridge during the 2009 poll campaign. With the bridge still a pipe dream, voters blame Pal for failing to meet his promise and might be looking for comfort elsewhere. In 2009, Pal defeated CPM’s former Asian Games gold medalist Jyotirmoyee Sikdar by 77,386 votes while Mookherjee came third.

Despite the misgivings, the TMC seems confident that Pal would retain his seat owing to the popularity of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. “The most important factor will be the work done by the TMC across the state. I am sure that will make me win,” Paul told reporters. He claimed to have spent more than Rs 20 crore from his MP local area development (LAD) funds to modernise local hospitals, buy ambulances, install streetlights and initiated irrigation projects.

Mookherjee, a former Union minister, counters Pal’s claims. He says the sitting MP was absent from the constituency and spent hardly any money from his MPLAD funds. “Everyone in the area knows he didn’t even raise his voice in Parliament,” he said. Jha concurred that people of Krishnanagar did not receive any amenities.

While both Mookherjee and Jha emphasise on infrastructure, including roads and rural electrification, Mookherjee’s cause has been further advanced by a visit of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to the constituency. The fate of all the candidates will be sealed on May 12. As of now, Krishnanagar is buzzing with excitement to elect the best representative. 

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