Constituency Watch: Can BJP reverse Raiganj’s trend of not repeating mandate since 2009?

Kolkata, April 13 (IANS): Since 2009, the Raiganj Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district has not repeated the winning mandate in any elections.

Now it is to be seen if the BJP candidate from Raiganj, Kartick Paul, can reverse that trend when the seat goes to the polls in the second phase on April 26.

In 2019, BJP’s Debasree Chaudhuri won the seat by over 60,000 votes. However, this time the BJP has fielded her from the Kolkata Dakshin Lok Sabha seat and given the ticket for Raiganj to Kartick Paul, a greenhorn in electoral politics.

In a four-cornered contest between the BJP, Trinamool Congress, Left Front, and the Congress in 2014, CPI-M’s Md Salim, who is the current state Secretary and a politburo member of the party, got elected by a thin margin of 1,500 votes.

In 2009, when the Congress and the Trinamool Congress were in a seat-sharing arrangement against the Left Front and the BJP, Congress’ Deepa Dasmunsi won the seat by a handsome margin of over one lakh votes.

Despite fielding a greenhorn in electoral politics, two factors can give a leg-up to the BJP's poll prospects in Raiganj.

After winning the seat in 2019, the BJP also performed commendably in the 2021 Assembly elections from there, winning four out of the seven seats under the Raiganj Lok Sabha constituency, while the remaining three seats went to the ruling Trinamool Congress.

Another factor that might help the BJP is the Trinamool's choice of candidate for Raiganj this time. The ruling party has fielded Krishna Kalyani, who on paper continues to be the BJP legislator from the Raiganj Assembly constituency. Kalyani had switched sides to the Trinamool after the Assembly elections in 2021.

In its campaigns, the BJP has been questioning the political morality of Kalyani for contesting as a Trinamool candidate while keeping his BJP MLA status intact.

The Congress has fielded Ali Imran Ramz a.k.a. Victor from the seat, a comparatively young face in the party with substantial legislative experience.

Victor won the Assembly elections twice from Chakulia -- a constituency under the Raiganj Lok Sabha seat -- in 2011 and 2016 as the All India Forward Bloc nominee.

However, due to his differences with the Forward Bloc, which aggravated after the 2021 Assembly polls when the Left Front drew a blank, Victor joined the Congress last year.

Being a two-time legislator from the area with his roots here, Victor expects to win the voters' confidence this time. The BJP candidate has also said that the contest in Raiganj is against Victor, and not the Trinamool nominee.




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Title: Constituency Watch: Can BJP reverse Raiganj’s trend of not repeating mandate since 2009?

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