In Chinsurah, one of the oldest towns in West Bengal, the campaign for the Assembly elections has taken a fascinating turn with the entry of BJP MP Locket Chatterjee. The 46-year-old actor-turned-politician, who won from the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat two years ago, is back on the campaign trail, this time for the Chinsura Assembly segment.
Her campaign has used almost all modes of transport: One day she is seen pedalling a bicycle, the other day she took a ride on a bullock cart. She even took a boat ride on Hooghly river – sailing from Chinsurah to Dunlop Ghat — and canvassed on the train to Bandel.
In her every speech, she targets the ruling TMC, accusing it of “rampant corruption”. “People of Chinsurah have already decided to defeat the TMC because of their rampant corruption and criminalisation in the party,” she says.
While campaigning in Chinsurah, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee took a dig at the BJP MP without taking her name. “One of their (BJP’s) MPs is contesting from Chinsurah Assembly constituency. She had won in the Lok Sabha elections. Now, again she is contesting in the Assembly polls. She may also contest in civic polls next and then in Gram Panchayat election and in the school board poll,” Mamata had said and alleged that Chatterjee was “linked’ to Rose Valley, one of the chit fund company that had defrauded people.
The TMC has fielded its sitting MLA, Asit Mazumder, who had defeated Dr Pranab Kumar Ghosh of the Forward Bloc with close to 30,000 votes in 2016. The Forward Bloc, which is a constituent of the Left Front and is in alliance with the Congress, has renominated Ghosh.
According to local TMC councillor Amit Roy, BJP is running a “campaign of falsehoods” by alleging corruption. “The BJP is trying its best to malign our image by making baseless charges of corruption. In the last five years, not a single complaint of corruption or a criminal case was lodged against us. How can she (Locket Chatterjee) accuse us of corruption?” he says.
Local TMC workers call Locket Chatterjee’s campaign a “mere show” devised to seek “people’s attention”.
Veteran Forward Bloc leader Naren Dey, who once represented the constituency, feels that despite the media focus on the TMC and BJP, the Left alliance will be able to gain this seat. “The people of Chinsurah are angry against the TMC because of corruption and criminalisation, and also against the BJP for trying to divide people in terms of Hindu and Muslim. So, we are confident that we will get more support this time.”
Chinsurah, which falls in Hooghly district, comprises Chinsurah and Bandel municipality, besides a few gram panchayats. Elections here will be held on April 10, the fourth of the eight-phase elections in the state.