The Trinamool Congress has announced that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would contest the Bhabanipur Assembly by-election on September 30. The bypoll will be held along with the elections to two seats in the Murshidabad district — Samserganj and Jangipur where polling could not be held during the eight-phase assembly elections earlier this year. The counting of votes will take place on October 3.
In 2011, when the TMC ended the three-decade rule of the Left front, Banerjee, who did not contest the polls then, had fallen back to the Bhabanipur assembly seat to retain the chief minister’s post.
Ten years later, Banerjee is back to her bastion in order to continue as the chief minister since she lost the election in Nandigram at the hands of BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari in the last assembly elections.
Meanwhile, the BJP said it would convene a meeting of its state leadership on Tuesday to finalise its candidates for the three by-polls. The Indian Express quoted sources saying that the BJP would have a difficult task selecting its candidate for the Bhabanipur poll, with some of its leaders reportedly believing that it is a lost cause.
Bhabanipur constituency is regarded as Banerjee’s bastion as she has been serving the area as an MLA for around a decade.
In 2011, Subrata Bakshi of the TMC had defeated CPI(M)’s Narayan Prasad Jain by over 50,000 votes. However, Mamata had won a bypoll from Bhabanipur to hold on to her chair.
In the 2016 Assembly elections, Mamata had won the seat by securing 65,520 votes, defeating veteran Congress leader Deepa Dasmunshi who had got 40,219 votes.
Banerjee had moved out of her traditional seat to fight in Nandigram during the assembly polls earlier this year but lost to his former close aide Suvendu Adhikari who contested on a BJP ticket. Adhikari is now the Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly.
The notification for the Bhabanipur bypoll will be issued on September 6, beginning the nomination process. September 13 is the last date of filing nominations, while scrutiny of papers will take place on September 14. September 16 is the last date to withdraw from the electoral battle.