By Sarada Lahangir
The grounds in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar have been prepared for the fourth phase of polling for the Bengal assembly elections on April 10. Everyone is in the process of scoring political goals. Between the scorching heat and deadly Corona, BJP and Trinamool campaigned in 14 assembly segments in these two districts. Didi’s Khela Hobe-Khela Hobe or Modi’s real Change Hobe– will be known only on May 2. The election campaign is so decided that the contest is mostly between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress. The United Front may also have some influence in couple of seats.
Cooch Behar’s Seat Condition
Mekhliganj: In the last election (2016), Aghrya Rai Pradhan of Trinamool won here. His popularity is still in the region but Didi canceled his ticket. There was a lot of opposition to this. In such a situation there is a possibility of retaliation against the Trinamool candidate Pareshchandra Adhikari. BJP candidate Dadhiram Rai may benefit from this. He has also been the head of panchayat here. He has a good hold in the village circles.
Mathabhanga: Despite having a bastion in 2011 and 2016, Didi cut Vinay Krishna’s ticket from here and chose Girindranath Burman. Dr. Jayanta Kumar Roy MP (BJP) of Jalpaiguri constituency is highly educated and he belongs to the famous Panchanan Barma‘s (a Rajbanshi leader and reformer from Cooch Behar) lineage tradition. Also Countering Girindranath Burman, the BJP has given ticket to an ordinary farmer Sushil Rai who has good penetration in the village area. The BJP’s position here seems to be strong.
Cooch Behar North: In this Lalgarh, the Left Front has won the last two elections. This time Trinamool and BJP have put their full emphasis here. Due to the clouts of Rajbanshis which favors saffron, the BJP is looking strong. The Trinamool has fielded Mathabhanga’s previous winner Vinay Krishna, though he has not been able to make a dent as compared to his former assembly member. BJP candidate Sukumar Rai is the district general secretary of the party and a dynamic leader. The wave of the Left does not look like this time in this segment.
Cooch Behar South: Trinamool MLA Mihir Goswami, who has been with the Trinamool for 22 years, has joined the BJP alleging that he has been neglected by the TMC, which makes the BJP strong here. BJP has nominated its district president Nikhil Ranjan De. This time the Trinamool Congress has named Abhijeet De Bhowmik as their candidate. He has good contacts with students and youth. But their influence is limited to the city of Mandal. There is a tough competition between the two here.
Sheetalchi: Hiten Burman won this seats with Trinamool ticket by a huge number of votes here in 2011 and 2016, but this time he has not been given a ticket. The district president and former MP Partha Pratim Rai of Cooch Behar has been given the ticket. This young leader is dear to Didi. Hiten Burman and his supporters are unhappy over this. On other hand BJP’s Barren Burman is impeccable and highly educated. BJP may benefit if Trinamool members in this segment gets divided.
Sitai: Trinamool’s Jagdish Burma Basuniya, who won the last election from the Sitai assembly seat by more than 25 thousand votes, is again fighting strongly in the field. Trinamool’s organization is strong here. BJP candidate Deepak Rai has come from the forward block. Old BJP leaders were not thought for a ticket. The factionalism within the party regarding this has intensified. At the same time, the United Front has again fielded the 2011 winning candidate Keshav Rai.So BJPs chances here looks less.
Dinhata: BJP Lok Sabha MP Nishith Pramanik is contesting from this seat. He is known as a Bahubali leader in the area. From the panchayat election, Nishith Pramanik’s groups and Udayan Guha’s group had lot of ideological difference and anger .Udayan Guha won on a Forward Bloc ticket in 2011, this time he is in the fray on the Trinamool ticket. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and other big leaders campaigned fiercely for Pramanik. At the same time, Trinamool has also put a lot of emphasis for Udayan. The competition will be neck to neck.
Hurricane Ganj: This time Trinamool has not given ticket to local sitting MLA Fazal Karim Mian and made Pranab Kumar De their candidate. De is a kind of outsider to this area. There is opposition within the party from the beginning. Fazal Karim Mian had considerable penetration among the minority community. BJP candidate and District President Malti Rabha is a fire brand frontline leader. She is liked by a very large section of women. The organizational strength of the BJP is strong here.
Tea workers and their royalty will decide the fate of Alipurduar election:
Alipurduar, Kumaragram, Kalachini, Madarihat and Falakata are the five assembly seats in Alipurduar district. In most of the seats here, tea workers will determine the fate of the candidates. The number of tea estates in Kalachini, Kumaragram and Madarihat is quite high; the labor votes in these seats are quite effective. The Trinamool, BJP and the United Front have tried to woo them. The main fight in Kumaragram is between the Trinamool and the BJP. There is a triangular collision at Alipurduar. There is a tough fight between BJP’s Suman Kanjilal, Trinamool’s Saurabh Chakraborty and former Congress MLA Dev Prasad Rai from the United Front. Talking about kalchini, there is a direct confrontation between the Pasang Lama of Trinamool and the Vishal Lama of BJP. In Falakata, the Rajvanshi community is dominant. They ensure victory for whosoever candidate they decide to throw their weight behind. There is a fight between Subhash Chandra Rai of Trinamool Congress, Deepak Burman of BJP and Kshitish Chandra Rai from United Front. The condition in Madarihat is also similar.
Fourth phase polling will be held for total 44 seats in five districts of West Bengal that are Hooghly, Howrah, South 24 Pargana, Coochbehar and Alipurduar