Bengal polls: Mamata Banerjee versus the heavyweights
Former Union Minister Deepa Dasmunshi is contesting as a Congress candidate while Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's grand nephew Chandra Kumar Bose is fielded by BJP from the seat. Apart from them, BSP, SUCI(C) and six independents are also in the fray.
Bhawanipore constituency, under which Mamata Banerjee's Kalighat residence falls, has been a stronghold of TMC since its inception in 2011, after delimitation. The constituency which has 202655 voters is home to a sizeable number of Gujaratis, Sikhs, Biharis, Marwaris and other communities living alongside Bengalis.
TMC General Secretary and Banerjee's trusted lieutenant, Subrata Bakshi had won the seat in 2011 when the party fought the election in alliance with Congress by nearly 50,000 votes defeating his nearest CPI-M rival Narayan Prasad Jain.
Within a few months, Bakshi had vacated the seat to pave the way for Mamata Banerjee, who was an MP, to get elected to the state Assembly. Banerjee had won the by poll with a margin of 54,000 votes defeating her nearest CPI(M) rival Nandini Mukherjee. Bakshi later won the Kolkata South Lok Sabha seat vacated by Banerjee.
Bhawanipore, which takes the pride of having Banerjee as the MLA, has never disappointed TMC except 2014 Lok Sabha polls when BJP had managed to get a slender lead from this Assembly segment under Kolkata South Lok Sabha constituency.
During the Lok Sabha polls, BJP's Kolkata South candidate and current Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy came second to Bakshi but took a lead in the Bhawanipore Assembly segment.
Banerjee in spite of her hectic schedule as Chief Minister and TMC supremo has focused on her constituency.
"In other constituencies, the fight may be of winning or losing. But in Bhawanipore the fight is to increase the margin than last time because we'll know that didi will win in this seat," party leader Firhad Hakim said. Hakim refuted the claim that the alliance between CPI-M and Congress had made the fight tougher in Bhawanipore.
"Why only CPI(M) and Congress, BJP can also join them. People will vote for development and TMC will win," he said.
Deepa Dasmunshi, the alliance candidate and wife of ailing Congress leader P R Dasmunsi, felt that people would vote against corruption and lawlessness.
"People are fed up with the corruption and lawlessness of TMC. People want peace and democracy to be established in Bengal and it will start from the Bhawnipore constituency," Dasmunshi, fondly called 'Boudi', said.
"Five years back people had voted in favour of TMC with a lot of hopes. It has not only failed but has also betrayed the masses under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee," she said.