Millennium Post (Kolkata)

LS polls: Oppn parties, including BJP, ‘struggle to find candidates for Diamond Harbour seat’

Abhishek won the seat by a margin of as many as 3.20 lakh votes in 2019


Is Abhishek Banerjee’s name too prominent for Opposition parties to announce their candidates for the highvoltag­e Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha (LS) constituen­cy? This question continues to circulate throughout the political spectrum of Bengal.

The only party that has come up with their candidate in the Diamond Harbour is SUCI. Rajkumar Mondal is SUCI’s bet against Abhishek. But the BJP, ISF, Congress or Left are yet to announce their candidates for Diamond Harbour. Though there is no official alliance, the Left parties may extend support to ISF MLA from Bhangar Nawsad Siddiqui who had already said that he was ready to contest from Diamond Harbour which is a minority-dominated constituen­cy. Abhishek in the 2019 LS elections, secured 7,91,127 votes and defeated Nilanjan Roy of BJP by a margin of 3,20,594 votes. He has been holding the seat since 2014.

The Indian Secular Front (ISF) has, however, kept its doors open for a potential alliance with the Left parties and the Congress. Siddique had also claimed that his party was hopeful for an alliance in Bengal which might anyway turn beneficial for them. The Diamond Harbour LS seat alone has about 53 per cent Muslim voters. It is yet to be seen if the Left parties finally support Nawsad pinning hopes that he can divide the minority votes.

Diamond Harbour has attained the stature of being the most high-profile LS constituen­cy in Bengal over the past 10 years. Abhishek Banerjee in his debut in 2014 LS polls had won the seat by a margin of over 70,000 votes. In the 2019 LS elections, he defeated the BJP candidate by 3.20 lakh votes. In the 2021 Assembly polls, all the seven segments that fall under the Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha seat were won by TMC.

BJP on March 24 announced its second list for Bengal announcing the names of 19 candidates but they gave a miss to Diamond Harbour. The saffron party is yet to announce the names of their candidates for 4 LS seats out of a total of 42. It was learnt that the BJP considers Diamond Harbour as a “tough” seat. Sources within BJP said that a woman MLA and a councillor of Kolkata Municipal Corporatio­n were considered for this seat but they eventually refused to contest from Diamond Harbour. It was learnt that the name of the former TMC MLA from Santgachia Sonali Guha was also considered. Guha, a longstandi­ng associate of TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had quit the party and joined BJP.

The name of the BJP leader Sanku Deb Panda who was once associated with TMC was also discussed. The suggestion to contest from Diamond Harbour came from Panda himself rather than the BJP as a section of the state party leadership is not keen on him. Sources in the BJP said that they have shortliste­d a few names, including Rajarshi Lahiri — an emerging face in Bengali news debates.

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