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April 27, 2024

Battle for Bardhaman-Durgapur: BJP’s Dilip Ghosh Fights for Survival

In the Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha constituency, the political landscape is set for a crucial showdown as BJP candidate Dilip Ghosh faces a pivotal battle to secure his political future. The region, known for its shifting political allegiances, has become a challenging battleground for the saffron party, with Ghosh at the forefront of the fight.

Since its establishment in 2009, Bardhaman-Durgapur has seen representatives from CPI(M), TMC, and BJP winning the Lok Sabha seat once each in the previous three elections. However, the 2019 victory by BJP’s S S Ahluwalia by a narrow margin of approximately 3,000 votes marked the region as a fiercely contested territory.

With the odds stacked against him, Ghosh, considered one of BJP’s most successful state presidents, is entrusted with retaining the party’s foothold in the area. His relocation from the Medinipur constituency and removal from the post of party’s national vice-president have made the Bardhaman-Durgapur contest a critical test of both prestige and political survival for Ghosh.

Political analysts view Ghosh’s current situation as a battle for his political survival within his own party. Maidul Islam, a political scientist at the Centre for Studies in Social Science, states, “A victory would rejuvenate his political career, while a defeat could cast doubts over it.”

Despite the challenges, Ghosh remains optimistic, citing his track record of political achievements. He highlights his rapid rise within the party and expresses readiness to face this new challenge in Bardhaman-Durgapur.

Ghosh’s opponents in this electoral race include TMC candidate and former India cricketer Kirti Azad, as well as the Left-Congress alliance candidate Sukriti Ghoshal. The constituency, a blend of industrial and farming regions, appeals to both rural and urban voters, comprising seven assembly segments.

In the 2021 assembly elections, TMC clinched victories in all segments except Durgapur West. Historically bastions of Left parties, these assembly seats have seen a shift towards the TMC since 2011, following the defeat of the Left Front government in West Bengal.

The constituency, with a significant Muslim population of nearly 20 percent and a scheduled caste community comprising 27 percent, promises a three-cornered fight with the entry of the Left-Congress alliance.

“The area has a rich history of trade unions and peasant movements led by the Left. The CPI(M) maintains its base here,” says Islam, highlighting the potential impact of the Left-Congress alliance on the electoral dynamics.

In 2019, the CPI(M) secured over 1.5 lakh votes, while the Congress garnered nearly 38,000 votes. Ghoshal expresses optimism about the alliance’s chances, citing the electorate’s disenchantment with both the TMC and the BJP.

Ghosh, sensing the imminent threat from the Left-Congress alliance, has appealed to Left voters to support the BJP in the fight against the “corrupt TMC,” a plea rejected outright by the CPI(M). The alliance aims to resonate with the people on issues like unemployment and agrarian crisis, making these its primary campaign themes in the upcoming election scheduled for May 13.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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