Flyover collapse may dim Trinamool scene in Kolkata

Flyover collapse may dim Trinamool scene in Kolkata

TMC leader supplied building materials

Flyover collapse may dim Trinamool scene in Kolkata

With Kolkata gearing up for its first round of polling on April 21, the Trinamool Congress seems beleaguered at all seven seats in the city that will witness polling in the third phase. What is likely to give nightmares to the ruling party is the impact the fatal flyover collapse of March 31 will have on the electorate.

In the upcoming phase, polls will be held at seven constituencies across north and central Kolkata, among other places. These seven constituencies include Jorasanko, where the under-construction flyover collapsed killing 27 and injuring around 100 people.
The accident and subsequent revelation that local Trinamool heavyweight Sanjay Bakshi’s nephew Rajat was involved in supplying construction materials will have its impact in the polls, fear Trinamool leaders.

Their fears are not unfounded with the city police’s Special Branch stating the same in a report to state home department on Monday.

According to the report, the Trinamool faces bleak prospects not just at Jorasanko but also in the other six seats. According to the report, the ruling party might have lost Jorasanko and could face tough fight at Beliaghata, Chowringhee and Maniktala, seats within earshot of each other. “The report suggests the recent flyover disaster has made it difficult for the Trinamool to win Jorasanko. Its impact will also be felt in adjoining constituencies like Maniktala and Beliaghata. TV channels aired horrifying visuals of people lying in pool of blood. It’s very likely the effect will be felt across all seats in Kolkata,” a source in the administration said.

Incidentally, Jorasanko’s sitting MLA is Smita, wife of prominent Trinamool leader Sanjay Bakshi.Sanjay’s nephew Rajat was the primary supplier of construction material for the flyover and experts have concluded that poor quality material lead to  the collapse.
The Special Branch report stated that these factors, along with the government’s decision to allow a black-listed infrastructure company to continue construction would dampen the Trinamool’s chances.

The report further noted that internal feuds within the ruling party at Beliaghata and Chowringhee could also add to Trinamool’s problems.

Taking advantage of the situation, the BJP has emerged a powerful force at Jorasanko, where RSS volunteers came forward for relief and rescue right after the mishap. The Sangh has a pre-existing network in the area, which has a mixed bag of communities, largely Hindi-speaking and mostly from the trading class. BJP leaders admit they are banking on the anti-Trinamool sentiments that have developed, particularly after the flyover collapse.

Matters could further complicate with the RJD, backed by the Left and the Congress, trying to find a place among the area’s substantial Bihari population.
Although some experts feel a tug-of-war between the BJP and the RJD would help the Trinamool slid past at Jorasanko, in the other seats things will not be smooth.
Going by statistics, the Trinamool already has reasons to worry as the BJP made significant inroads in many of these Assembly segments during the 2014 general elections, gaining the highest from Jorasanko at 15%.

Even though BJP candidate president Rahul Sinha from Jorasanko believes people want change, Smita said, “Our work in the last five years will speak for us.”

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