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Trinamool, BJP, Left-Congress To Fight It Out In Key Bengal Poll



The stage is set for a three-cornered contest in the by-poll to the Sagardighi assembly constituency in Murshidabad district on Monday, as the ruling Trinamool Congress, opposition BJP and the Congress-Left alliance are ready for the fight to bag the minority-dominated seat.

The TMC, which has been winning the seat since 2011, won in 2021 by a margin of nearly 50,000 votes, securing more than 50 per cent of the total votes polled, whereas the BJP and the Congress-Left alliance had bagged 24 per cent and 19 per cent respectively.

The TMC has fielded local leader Debashish Banerjee, who is up against Dilip Saha of the BJP, and the Left-supported Congress candidate Bayron Biswas who is known as the beedi-baron in the area.

The constituency is known for its beedi industry and is also a cradle of migrant labourers, who venture out to various parts of the country in search of jobs. Apart from more than 60 per cent minority population, the rural seat also has around 18.5 per cent Scheduled caste and 6.5 per cent Scheduled Tribe population. It has approximately 2.3 lakh voters.

The by-poll to the Sagardighi assembly seat was necessitated by the death of its three-time TMC MLA and state minister Subrata Saha in December last year.

The TMC, confident of winning the seat for the fourth consecutive time, has employed party national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee and a host of other top leaders and ministers to campaign in the area.

“In the by-poll, we must improve our margin further and expose the unholy opposition nexus of BJP, CPI (M) and Congress. I wish to tell everyone here that a vote for the Congress will strengthen the hand of the BJP and its designs to implement NRC in future,” Banerjee had said during a recent election campaign.

His reference to NRC was a reminder of the violent protest the district had witnessed in December 2019 against the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Parliament.

The recent IT raids on TMC MLA Jakir Hossain from the district have left the ruling party fuming, accusing it of using central agencies to threaten the party leaders ahead of the by-polls.

The BJP’s big guns – Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, national vice-president Dilip Ghosh, and state president Sukanta Majumdar – have carried out a whirlwind campaign in the constituency.

“If the elections are free and fair, the BJP will win the seat by a record margin. The Sagardighi assembly by-poll will kick off the downfall of the TMC in future,” Adhikari had said.

Congress state president and an MP from the district, Adhir Chowdhury, who is crisscrossing the entire constituency, is confident that of winning the seat.

“The minorities have realised that the TMC and the BJP are both sides of the same coin. The death of student leader Anish Khan and recent graft cases where deserving candidates have been denied jobs as the posts were sold will have an impact on this by-poll,” he said.

The seat was considered a Congress bastion since the early 1950s till the then-ruling CPI (M) snatched it from the grand old party in the assembly election of 1987. Riding on the winds of change, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) snatched it from the Left in 2011.

The Election Commission, in a bid to ensure free and fair polls, has deployed 30 companies of central forces in the area.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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