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Rashbehari Constituency

12 April, 2021 11:32:28
Rashbehari Constituency

Memories of revolutionary Rashbehari Bose may have faded from the minds of middle class Bengali, but Rashbehari Avenue and its neighbourhood still calls for one of the most important poll constituency of Kolkata. Talk to the auto drivers crowding in the auto stands from Rashbehari Metro station, straight down to Lake Market and beyond, one understands the battle ground of Rashbehari has changed gradually in its inclination. As Babu Mondal, a regular auto driver and member of TMC Auto Union of the area said: ‘We shall vote for Didi, but yes, gradually even in the auto unions the BJP is infiltrating. Now we have a sharp divide, it is no more ‘Only TMC’ unions. Many are going for BJP because they give a lot of money.’

In 2016 West Bengal Assembly election, the constituency had a total of 2,05,943 registered voters. TMC’s Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay won the Rashbehari seat on All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) ticket by garnering 60,857 votes.

Rashbehari will see a high ground battle this time with BJP fielding a Retd. Lieutenant General from the Indian Army Subrata Saha against TMC’s popular Deba da aka Debasish Kumar. One knows the pulse of the area, from the shopkeepers, hawkers to the upscale upper middle class Bengalis of the area, while the other still trying to fix a strategy. Gen Saha told the media recentlt: “I will think and determine the strategy. I will listen to the people in the area with my mind.” As a member of the National Security Advisory Board and Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Saha may have won many battles on ground and received multiple medals for bravery, working along conflict regions of Kashmir, yet it will be interesting to find how the people of the area would take this ‘outsider’ against their very popular Deba da, who has played an important role in Hawker’s Rehabilitation Schemes. As Pranay Seal, one of the hawkers in the Lake Market area who has his roadside stall for decades said: ‘When the Lake Mall was being built, we were afraid we will lose our source of income and all our stalls will be removed. However, TMC netas helped us and many of us got stalls within the market and others where they were. We know Deba da, as he visits us personally. Hence we shall vote for TMC.’

Rashbehari will see a high ground battle this time with BJP fielding a Retd. Lieutenant General from the Indian Army Subrata Saha against TMC’s popular Deba da aka Debasish Kumar. One knows the pulse of the area, from the shopkeepers, hawkers to the upscale upper middle class Bengalis of the area, while the other still trying to fix a strategy.

No wonder, the BJP in its fight against the ruling TMC, is trying to combine patriotic sentiments with Bengali sentiments in the upcoming West Bengal elections. Fielding Saha is one such move, primarily to catch the attention of the upper middle class educated Bengalis who still live in this area. How far that will go down is still a big question. A senior citizen voter of Parkside Road who did not wish to be named said: ‘Most of us are NOTA voters, educated friends in this area are disgruntled with both State and Central governments. We feel no change will be a good change.’ 

Debasish Kumar is the Member Mayor in Council of Kolkata, and the district president of Kolkata South of All India Trinamool Congress. He is in charge of Parks & Gardens, Sports, Advertisement, Parking & Hawker's Rehabilitation Schemes, Urban Forestry. In 2016 West Bengal Assembly election, the constituency had a total of 2,05,943 registered voters. TMC’s Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay won the Rashbehari seat on All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) ticket by garnering 60,857 votes. His main opponent, Ashutosh Chatterjee of the Indian National Congress (INC) took the second position by receiving 46,304 votes. BJP was nowhere in sight. Ashutosh Chatterjee is fighting this year too, but where BJP’s Army man will fit in is a million dollar question. Only time will tell, so better keep a watch out for this high-profile Kolkata seat!

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