Trinamool MP Faces Challenge from Former Ally

Constituency watch: Tough battle for sitting Trinamool MP from Kolkata-Uttar to retain fort against former party loyalist…reports Asian Lite News

The contest in the Kolkata-Uttar Lok Sabha constituency which came into existence in 2009 after the orders of the Delimitation Commission will be interesting during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The sitting Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha member, Sudip Bandopadhyay, is facing a tough challenge from one of his old party loyalists and six-time MLA Tapas Roy, who is contesting on behalf of the BJP.

Also in the fray is the former Congress Rajya Sabha member and veteran party leader Pradip Bhattacharya, who is contesting as the Left Front-supported Congress candidate.

The contest could have been another cakewalk for Bandopadhyay this time as well had Tapas Roy not filed his papers. However, the BJP fielding Roy against him had made things complicated for Bandopadhyay.

First, since the time tension between Bandopadhyay and Roy (then within Trinamool Congress) started surfacing, a number of ruling party leaders from Kolkata-Uttar publicly sympathised with Roy.

The outspoken Trinamool Congress General Secretary, Kunal Ghosh even then publicly accused Bandopadhyay of encouraging and nurturing factionalism within the party in Kolkata-Uttar. After Roy resigned from his membership of the Assembly and joined the BJP, Ghosh observed that had the leadership been serious the exit of Roy could have been prevented.

What made Roy’s joining BJP different from many others is that he had set a precedent of first resigning as a member of the Legislative Assembly as well as the general member of Trinamool Congress before officially joining the BJP even though his current term as an MLA was till 2026.

Roy had for quite some time been appealing to his own party leader not to neglect the issue of corruption and take disciplinary action against those indulging in corruption.

Second, barring a single-day ED operation at his residence in connection with the municipalities’ recruitment case, never ever has there been a single allegation of involvement in corruption in his long political career. Roy, who is always known for his humble lifestyle and amicable behaviour has claimed that the single-day ED operation at his residence was orchestrated by the leader of Trinamool Congress in Lok Sabha, Sudip Bandopadhyay.

While resigning from Trinamool Congress, Roy’s main grievance was that while Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had been so vocal in supporting the accused mastermind, Sheikh Shahjahan, in the attack on ED and CAPF personnel in Sandeshkhali, she had never raised her voice over the ED operations at his residence.

Following the ED raids at his residence, several leaders from the opposition camps, including BJP, Congress and CPI(M) said that corruption links with him are simply not true.

As Roy still has major followers within the Trinamool Congress, a silent revolt within the ruling party in favour of Roy can go against Bandopadhyay.

After being nominated, Roy said that his joining the BJP was not with any expectation but with a case which is to fight against corruption which he was unable to do while being in Trinamool Congress.

“There is no doubt that BJP is coming to power again in the country with Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister for the third consecutive term. If I am elected, I will raise the issues of grievances of the people of West Bengal on the floor of the Parliament,” Roy said.

On the other hand, Bandopadhyay has hinted that this will be the last electoral battle that he is fighting. “I want to quit electoral politics like Lionel Messi after winning,” Bandopadhyay has said.

Another advantage for Roy is that he is much younger than both Bandyopadhyay and Congress candidate, Pradip Bhattacharya. While Roy is 67, Bandopadhyay is 75 and Bhattacharya is nearing his eighties.

Tripura CM Holds Door-to-Door Campaign

Gearing up for the Lok Sabha elections, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha on Monday conducted a door-to-door campaign in Bamutia village in the Mohanpur subdivision of West Tripura district.

A huge crowd gathered in the Bamutia village to catch a glimpse of the Tripura Chief Minister, while he marched through the streets along with his supporters.

The Tripura CM was seen talking to the area’s residents about the different schemes run by the BJP-led government.

Earlier on Saturday, the Tripura CM expressed confidence in the BJP winning the Lok Sabha polls as there had been significant development in the state.

“We had only dreamt of trains coming here. Our dream was fulfilled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He started the Act East Policy. Now we take the train to come here. When I send photos to my children, I feel proud. Now Vande Bharat will start here. PM Modi fulfils whatever he promises. All his schemes will reach 100 per cent saturation point,” Saha said in his address in Dharmanagar.

Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency is one of the two constituencies in the state of Tripura in northeastern India.

In the 2019 General elections, BJP candidate Pratima Bhowmik won this seat with 573,532 votes, while Congress candidate Subal Bhowmik received 267,843 votes and CPM candidate Shankar Prasad Dutta received 171,826 votes.

Bhowmik was also elected to the Tripura Legislative Assembly in 2023 from the Dhanpur Assembly constituency, but later on resigned from the position to retain her Lok Sabha membership. Since 2016, she has also been a State General Secretary of the BJP Tripura unit.

For the 2024 elections, Bhartiya Janata party has named Former Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb as the candidate from the West Tripura district.

Earlier, the President of the Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee, announced that major opposition parties, including CPIM, Congress, Gana Manch, All Tripura Peoples Party, CPI, and CPIML, had formed an alliance under the banner of the INDIA Alliance. This alliance aims to challenge the BJP government in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The 2024 General elections in Tripura will be held in two phases, on April 19 and April 26, to elect the two members of the 18th Lok Sabha. (ANI)

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