In third phase polls, Mamata looks shaky

In third phase polls, Mamata looks shaky

Polling will make or break Trinamool Congress

In third phase polls, Mamata looks shaky

 As parts of Kolkata and three other districts go to polls on Thursday for the third phase of Assembly elections, the polling process enters south Bengal, a part of the state considered to be a sweet spot for the Trinamool Congress.

Haunted by the spectre of recent developments, party chief Mamata Banerjee, however, has a tough march ahead.

Polling in the next three phases will make or break it for the Mamata-led ruling party. With elections in north Kolkata, along with the districts of Murshidabad, Nadia and parts of Burdwan, Mamata is likely to score better in this phase than in north Bengal, which went to polls in the second phase.

The Trinamool is likely to face a roadblock in Murshidabad, which is among the last remaining Congress strongholds in Bengal and home ground of state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury. While Burdwan, an erstwhile CPM bastion, fell to Mamata in 2011 and 2014, the Trinamool chief will have a tough time in Nadia. Although considered a Trinamool stronghold, dissident leader Shankar Singh could cause trouble.

Among the 62 constituencies in third phase, seven seats are in north Kolkata, where the recent collapse of an under-construction flyover is expected to cost Trinamool heavily.

Even at the other six seats in the city, infighting is a major challenge for the ruling party.
Political analyst Biswajit Bhattacharya pointed out that despite development schemes by the Mamata government, the Trinamool is likely to lose seats even at some strongholds in south Bengal.

“Allegations of graft against senior Trinamool leaders are likely to have a negative effect on urban and semi-urban voters.

The Trinamool is banking on rural votes in south Bengal and highlighting initiatives like Kanyashree and distribution of bicycles but the major issue of unemployment has not been properly addressed. At Kolkata and other districts, Mamata’s inability to bring industries in last five years will have an effect,” he said.

A Trinamool MP admitted that south Bengal is the party’s primary base and winning most seats in this region is crucial.

 “We expect to do much better at districts like Howrah, Hooghly, Nadia, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas. We’ve been forced to work harder since the Opposition now has strong talking points like Narada sting and the flyover collapse,” he said. 

On Thursday, an electorate of more than 1.3 crore across 16,000-plus polling stations will decide the fate of the Trinamool, while addressing the concerns and aspirations of the Opposition parties.

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