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Modi, Mamata lock horns with roadshows in battle for key Kolkata North seat
LS Polls
Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

Modi, Mamata lock horns with roadshows in battle for key Kolkata North seat

| @indiablooms | 29 May 2024, 08:21 pm

Kolkata/IBNS: The Kolkata Uttar or Kolkata North Lok Sabha seat of West Bengal has turned out to be a turf of fierce contest between the Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party after a crossover charged up the saffron party's campaign in the constituency, which is held by TMC for several terms.

In a big push to the party's prospect in the seat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief campaigner for the BJP, held about 2-km roadshow in a vehicle from the iconic Shyambazar 5-point crossing, paying floral tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's statue and continued till Swami Vivekananda's ancestral house in Simla Street.

Modi paid floral tributes to Vivekananda's statue to mark the end of his Kolkata North campaign, which began paying a visit to Maa Sarada's house in Bagbazar.

Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNSImage by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

Modi's roadshow has assumed significance as the BJP smells a chance to register its win in 1 of the 9 Lok Sabha seats in Greater Kolkata region, the urban belt which is a stronghold of the TMC.

In the last Lok Sabha elections held in 2019, the TMC had swept all 9 seats despite its tally going down from 34 to 22 facing the BJP's meteoric rise.

The BJP has garnered some influence and spirit after veteran politician Tapas Roy dumped the TMC and joined the saffron party just weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha poll commencement.

Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNSImage by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

Flanked by Roy, Leader of Opposition (LoP) Suvendu Adhikari, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar, Modi greeted a thick crowd of people waving at him with joy on two sides of Bidhan Sarani, a lane which is famous for the roadside market, with 'Namo Namo' song and 'Jai Shri Ram' slogan charging up the poll atmosphere.

In a counter, Mamata walked the distance from Netaji's statue to Vivekananda's house waving at a reasonable crowd on two sides of the road, occasionally shaking hands with women and even enthusiastically lifting a child in her arms with TMC's theme song 'Jonogoner Gorjon' playing in the background.

While Modi's roadshow was all about visuals, Mamata marked hers with a direct attack on her opponent saying, "The Prime Minister could come to pay floral tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at Shyambazar 5-point crossing for publicity during elections but couldn't declare Netaji's birth anniversary as the National Holiday."

Mamata, who held a roadshow in the same stretch from the other way round even in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, is perhaps facing some competition in the seat, which is held by veteran TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay.

Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNSImage by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

When it is said competition, the genesis of it lies in occasional murmurs within the TMC camp with its former chief spokesperson Kunal Ghosh resigning from the post in a vent out against Sudip Bandyopadhyay, whom he accused of being involved in the alleged coal scam.

Kunal was also removed from the party's general secretary post after he shared a non-political dais with Roy, who is now fighting his former camp.

However, the rebel Kunal Ghosh is still in TMC fold and also walked the roadshow on Wednesday but at a sufficient distance from his supremo.

Image by Avishek Mitra/IBNSImage by Avishek Mitra/IBNS

In another embarrassment, TMC councillor from Ward No. 49, Monalisa Bandyopadhyay, had started a sit-in protest against Sudip Bandyopadhyay for hours. Monalisa's reason was that she faced hurdles in discharging her duties.

Be it TMC infighting or not, BJP is aiming to make a splash in the Greater Kolkata belt with at least the Kolkata North seat. BJP national vice president and Burdwan-Durgapur candidate Dilip Ghosh made it clear on Tuesday.

"We have taken a pledge to win Kolkata and adjoining seats. CPI-M ran the government by winning seats from the rural belt but has never been able to win Kolkata," Ghosh, who led BJP to win an unprecedented 18 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, said.

Kolkata North will go to polls in the seventh and final phase of voting on June 1. The results of all Lok Sabha seats across the country will be declared on June 4.

(Images by Avishek Mitra/IBNS)

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