×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: BJP hopes to hold on to North Bengal as 3 seats go to polls but can TMC turn the tide?

The two seats along with Darjeeling that will witness a three-corner contest and a split in the Gorkha votes, will determine whether BJP will be able to repeat its impressive 2019 performance in north Bengal.
alyan Ray
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 17:55 IST
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 17:55 IST

Follow Us :

Comments

Siliguri: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's decision to shift the AIIMS out of Raiganj in Uttar Dinajpur district 10 years ago continues to haunt the Trinamool Congress in parts of north Bengal that will go to polls along with Darjeeling on Friday.

Contrary to the original plan of building the tertiary care hospital at Raiganj, a stronghold of Congress veteran Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, Banerjee relocated the hospital to Kalyani near Kolkata after becoming the Chief Minister. depriving the people of north Bengal, which the BJP was quick to latch on to.

While campaigning for the saffron party, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that while Mamata had blocked the AIIMS at Raiganj, if Narendra Modi returned to the power for the third time with 30 seats from West Bengal, a separate AIIMS for north Bengal would be set up.

Bengal LoP Suvendu Adhikari added that this time, AIIMS will come up on the central government’s land, keeping Mamata out of the picture.

In the UPA era, the Union government sanctioned over Rs 800 crore to establish an AIIMS at Raiganj to cater to north Bengal which didn’t have a frontline medical facility. The state also identified 110 acres of land, but the project was ultimately moved out of north Bengal.

The broken promise returns in the Lok Sabha campaigns at Raiganj where BJP greenhorn Kartick Paul will fight against Trinamool Congress’s Krishna Kalyani, a former BJP MLA who had switched over to the TMC.

The constituency, once known as the backyard of Dasmunsi, will witness a three-cornered contest with Left-Congress alliance candidate Ali Imran Ramz, also known as Victor. In 2014, Congress and left garnered over 28 per cent votes each with CPI(M)’s Md Salim defeating Congress’s Deepa Dasmunsi (wife of Priya Ranjan) by just about 2,000 votes.

Cut to five years later, the Modi wave wiped out the Congress-Left vote share and BJP’s Debasree Chaudhuri emerged victorious by capturing 40 per cent vote.

Even though Debasree was made a junior minister in the Union government, her poor performance put the saffron party on back foot. To placate the local cadre, she was shifted to Kolkata (south) and Modi and Shah campaigned in Raiganj.

At neighbouring Balurghat constituency in Dakshin Dinajpur, a closely fought electoral contest awaits where BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar seeks re-election and is up against a formidable rival in TMC candidate Biplab Mitra, a seasoned politician and presently a member of the TMC ministry.

Majumder is riding high on his success of getting two express trains for Balurghat, which has poor rail connectivity. Becoming the state president of a national party from a backward north Bengal district also boosts his local boy image. Mitra runs a better grass root level organisation, but has to manage intra-party squabbling.

The two seats along with Darjeeling that will witness a three-corner contest and a split in the Gorkha votes, will determine whether BJP will be able to repeat its impressive 2019 performance in north Bengal.

ADVERTISEMENT
Published 25 April 2024, 17:55 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT