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Constituency watch: Can BJP’s Dilip Ghosh reverse Bardhaman-Durgapur’s trend of not electing same force twice

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Shillong, April 5: Since its inception before the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the Bardhaman-Durgapur constituency has maintained a trend of not electing the same political force twice.

After electing the CPI(M)’s Saidul Haque by a comfortable margin even in the midst of a major Trinamool Congress wave in 2009, the voters of Bardhaman-Durgapur reversed the trend in 2014, when the Trinamool’s Mamtaz Sanghamita won by a major margin.

The trend reversed again in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when the BJP’s SS Ahluwalia clinched a victory though by a thin margin of less than 3,000 votes.

Probably understanding that it will be a tough fight this time, the BJP has decided to switch Ahluwalia with the maverick former National Vice President and state President of the party, Dilip Ghosh, who is the sitting MP from Medinipur constituency in West Midnapore District.

Generally, denial of re-nomination or shifting from the winning constituency results in grievances from the candidate concerned, but for Ghosh this is a challenge which he has accepted.

In his own words, as a “dedicated soldier of the party” he is always ready to accept any assignment.

To take on the maverick Dilip Ghosh, the Trinamool Congress is betting on its celebrity face and former Indian cricket player, Kirti Azad.

However, the member of the 1983 World Cup-winning Indian squad has to tackle two additional hurdles besides highlighting his party’s successes at his rallies.

First, from the day his name was announced by the Trinamool Congress, the BJP tagged him an “outsider” and started a campaign against him.

The second obstacle is the acute infighting in the Trinamool Congress in the Bardhaman-Durgapur constituency, which Azad witnessed just a few days ago.

On March 31, while campaigning in Durgapur area which comes under his constituency, he got in the midst of a scuffle between the supporters of two factions of the party.

Initially Azad tried to pacify the rival groups, but later he went inside a local temple after failing to calm them.

Also in the poll fray is the CPI(M) candidate, Dr Sukriti Ghoshal, a retired principal of a reputed college in the district, who also has roots there.

However, despite having an informal seat sharing arrangement with the Left Front, the district Congress leaders are not happy with Dr Ghoshal’s nomination.

A number of district leaders of the country’s oldest national party have accused the CPI(M) of announcing the name of its candidate without consultations.

The nature of the Bardhaman-Durgapur constituency, which was formed after delimitation of the Assembly constituencies under the three erstwhile Lok Sabha constituencies of Burdwan, Katwa and Durgapur, is quite unique.

Officially, Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha comes under West Burdwan constituency.

However, among the seven Lok Sabha seats under it, five, namely Bardhaman-Dakshin, Monteswar, Bardhaman-Uttar, Bhatar and Galsi are in East Burdwan District, while only two Assembly constituencies, namely Durgapur-Purba and Durgapur-Paschim are in West Burdwan District.

While the Assembly constituencies in East Burdwan District are mainly in the rural and agricultural belts, those in West Burdwan District are in the urban and industrial belts.

The total electoral strength in Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha is around 16 lakh. (IANS)

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