Barrackpore: TMC, BJP struggling with internal rift

CPI(M) candidate from Barrackpur Gargi Chatterjee (on the right) with Left Front chairperson Biman Basu during campaigning.

A peculiar situation has developed in the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal with both the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and BJP facing severe internal discontent over candidate selection.

BJP’s decision to filed former Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA and strongman Arjun Singh to take on the ruling party in the state seems to have backfired to a certain extent. Singh, who was a TMC MLA from the Bhatpara Assembly segment under Barrackpore joined BJP after he was denied a party ticket. TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee renominated sitting party MP from Barrackpore Dinesh Trivedi.

According to sources in the state BJP, the party leadership was keen on capitalising on Singh’s organisational clout in Barrackpore and was depending on him to engineer further defection in TMC. They were hopeful that Singh will not only get the votes of the substantial number of Hindi speaking voters in Barrackpore who constitute about 40% of the population in the constituency. Barrackpore will go to polls on May 6.

“But things are not going as we planned. There is severe discontent among local BJP workers against Singh who during his time in TMC have inflicted atrocities on them. A large number of party cadres are not happy with Singh’s candidature,” a senior state BJP leader told DH.

Singh’s alleged involvement in several criminal activities has also not gone down well with a section of local BJP workers.

TMC, on the other hand, is trying to label Singh as a “traitor” and highlight the criminal cases lodged against him in their campaign. The TMC candidate Dinesh Trivedi pointed out that in 2014 even as he won with a convincing margin of 2,06,773 votes the only Assembly segment in Barrackpore where he did not get a lead was the Bhatapara Assembly segment then represented by Singh.

“It was nothing but sabotage by Singh. I am confident of getting a second term from Barrackpore,” said Trivedi.

The TMC candidate, however, has his own share of trouble to deal with. A section of TMC workers are not happy with his candidature as he spends little time in the constituency and they can rarely get in touch with him.

The situation may provide some advantage to CPI(M) candidate Gargee Chatterjee. Even as Congress is contesting the Barrackpore seat the party unlikely makes any marks. There will be most likely a close contest between TMC and BJP.

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