Will Abhishek Banerjee make the cut again?
Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha seat voted on 19th May in the seventh phase of polling.
Here are the results:
Abhishek Banerjee defeated BJP's Nilanjan Roy by 320594 votes.
At 11. 30 AM, Abhishek Banerjee ahead by 56,000 votes.
Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha constituency is a VIP constituency as Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee is the TMC candidate here. Abhishek is widely seen as the political heir to Mamata Banerjee. He won in 2014 as a 26-year-old to reach Parliament from Diamond Harbour. Now, in 2019 Abhishek has been intensively campaigning for other TMC candidates too with the implicit trust that he will win Diamond Harbour easily.
But the actual battle is not a cakewalk. CPI(M) has fielded an extremely competent candidate in Fuwad Halim, who is son of late West Bengal assembly speaker Hasim Abdul Halim. Fuwad in campaign trail has got traction and is likely to attract a decent chunk of the significant minority population residing in the Diamond Habour Lok Sabha seat. Fuwad Halim was also attacked in the campaign trail, which elicited a strong reaction on social media. BJP has fielded Nilanjan Roy and Congress has opted for Soumya Aich Roy.
BJP doesn't have much of organisation to boast for but is hoping to bank on the anti-incumbency against TMC and the Modi magic to give a decent fight in Diamond Harbour. PM Modi with his Bua-Bhatija jibe and repeatedly attacking Abhishek Banerjee has certainly upped the ante. But it is for the BJP organisation to reap the dividends of PM's outreach. However, as far organisation is concerned, TMC is leaps and bounds ahead of others. Since it is Abhishek Banerjee's constituency, all factions of the party are united to ensure his victory, athough there are some differences in opinion between the senior leaders and the youth heralded by Abhishek. TMC MP is known for his ground-level network. Abhishek says he feels a connect with Diamond Harbour even though he is a South Kolkata boy. BJP candidate made the headlines for being accused in a minor molestation case. The opposition parties believe that if people can give their votes unlike in the Panchayat elections, then Diamond Harbour can throw up a surprise.
Historically, Diamond Harbour has been a Left citadel. From 1967 to 2004,only CPI(M) ruled the roost here till Somen Mitra, then with TMC won in 2009. Abhishek Banerjee subsequently won in 2014 defeating Abul Hasnat by 71 thousand votes. Of the 12 times CPI(M) won at a stretch, Jyotirmoy Basu, Amal Dutta and Samik Lahiri won four times apiece.
Mamata Banerjee took pride in the fact that Abhishek didn't opt for Rajya Sabha route or took a 'safe' seat to go to Parliament. Diamond Harbour remains a challenge to TMC as the Left retains significant votebank here. The assembly segments here are Diamond Harbour, Falta , Satgachhia, Bishnupur (SC), Maheshtala, Budge Budge and Metiaburuz. All seven are currently with TMC. Unemployment due to lack of industries, closure of older ones is a big factory there. With TMC there in power for a close to a decade in the state, slowly anti-incumbency is building in. The challenge for the opposition parties is to get that reflected in the EVM when voter exercise their franchise on 19th May. Else there is little chance of stopping 'Bhatija' from going to the Parliament again.