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In last phase, BJP has a task at hand: To break into Didi’s citadel

Although the sixth phase was crucial for the BJP, the seventh is going to be a test for the party about how much inroads it made into the urban and semi urban electorate.

, ET Bureau|
May 13, 2019, 07.04 AM IST
Mamata Banerjee
KOLKATA: As polling enters the last phase, the BJP is striving hard to break into Trinamool Congress’s strongest citadel in south Bengal –– Kolkata and its suburbs. This is a formidable task as Trinamool Congress began its journey as a city-based party from here after which it started strengthening its presence in semiurban and rural areas of Bengal. The prominent constituencies which will vote on May 19 include Diamond Harbour, Kolkata South, Kolkata North, Jadavpur, Basirhat and Dum Dum.

Although the sixth phase was crucial for the BJP, the seventh is going to be a test for the party about how much inroads it made into the urban and semi urban electorate.

This phase is also a fight for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s prestige and hence, the stakes are very high. According to political observers, the urban poor’s support base has always remained with Banerjee and this phase will decide how much of this base was breached by the BJP.

“Urban votes are an aggregate of the urban rich, urban middle-class and urban poor. Mamata Banerjee has been doing good among the urban poor. She always gets the votes of slum-dwellers. The urban rich and urban middle-class used to vote for CPM. Now, they might vote for Congress or BJP in Kolkata,” said Professor Ranabir Samanddar, a political analyst of Calcutta Research Group.

The most important seats are perhaps Jadavpur and south Kolkata –– the home turf of Mamata Banerjee, from where she began her political career. Banerjee, then a young Congress leader, defeated former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee in Jadavpur in 1984. That was the first time Banerjee got prominence. Later, she shifted to south Kolkata.


Banerjee had been a six-term MP from south Kolkata. She, in fact, started her Trinamool Congress from south Kolkata in 1998 and, since then, her party has been winning this seat with a more than 50% vote share, barring in 2014. TMC’s vote share in Kolkata south in 2014 went to around 37% as BJP’s Tathagata Roy, now governor of Meghalaya, got around 25% votes and had a lead in Bhawanipore assembly segment, Mamata’s home constituency.

Diamond Harbour is another important seat that will be keenly watched. Trinamool Congress’ heir apparent Abhishek Banerjee is the sitting MP and the party candidate there.

Apart from Diamond Harbour, Dum Dum and Basirhat are the two seats which BJP has included in its probable list of winnableseats.

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