Kolkata: In what appears, already, an election campaign with the approaching Lok Sabha elections, Trinamool national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, on Friday, counter-challenged his political opponents to contest from Diamond Harbour, the parliamentary constituency he represents.
Leaders representing Opposition parties in Bengal, the Congress, the CPI(M) and the BJP, have spoken of the constituency in recent days. A leader of Indian Secular Front – a Left-ally in the last assembly elections – has expressed intent to contest against Banerjee in his constituency.
Speculations are rife of him being able to draw support of the CPI(M), and Congress. The move could retrace an earlier pitching of a Left-backed Congress candidate in a by-election who was successful in snatching the seat away from Trinamool. The election move is now referred to as the “Sagardighi model”, named after the assembly constituency.
Speaking at Falta in Diamond Harbour, Banerjee said, “Many people have expressed an interest in contesting from Diamond Harbour. I welcome them. This is the essence of a democracy. Leaders from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh can also contest in Diamond Harbour if they want.”
The Trinamool leader said that during the 2019 Lok Sabha, Falta had contributed 45,000 votes to the victory margin of 3.21 lakh votes. “This time, I urge people to increase it to 70,000,” he said.
The region has a substantial number of voters from the minority community. The ISF leader, who comes from the minority community, with the support of a section of the Trinamool’s opponents could well be a challenge.
Banerjee, however, thinks otherwise. “Like previous elections, CPI(M) will try to play the communal card to defeat me by nominating candidates from minority communities. Those who tried to use communal rhetoric to contest the elections in the past are reduced to such political irrelevance that people don’t even remember the names of their candidates today,” he said.
The leader, who has been seen leading Trinamool’s major political campaigns in recent times, asked people to “identify those who try to divide people along religious lines for political benefits”.
(Published 10 November 2023, 17:59 IST)