Actor-politician Debashree Roy will lock horns with former state minister Kanti Ganguly, a heavyweight Left candidate, from Raidighi constituency in South 24 Parganas on Saturday (April 30).
This contest will be one of the most interesting this year for it was the same Roy who had defeated the same opponent in this newly formed constituency in 2011 by just over 5.5 thousand votes. Given this year's challenging election before the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), can Roy repeat the same result? For the BJP, Sanghamitra Chowdhury is contesting this election.
Date of polling:
Raidighi, which is constituency No. 134, will go to polls on April 30, when the sixth (technically fifth) phase of the Bengal polls will be held. The result will be declared on May 19.
2011 election result:
Trinamool Congress's (TMC) Debashree Roy defeated CPI(M)'s Kanti Ganguly by 5,553 votes. The BJP's Dwijendralal Haldar won just 3,369 votes. [Didi vs Boudi: The biggest battle of Bengal polls 2016]
Debashree Roy (Trinamool Congress)
Debashree Roy, a former No. 1 actor in Bengali films and a noted animal rights activist, won her maiden election in which she polled 93,236 votes. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the TMC was ahead by just 3,741 votes, which is even less than Roy's winning margin of 5,533 seats in 2011 and this has made the observers keen to whether the Left can avenge the five-year-old defeat.
The Raidighi Assembly constituency falls under the Mathurapur Lok Sabha seat where the TMC's Chowdhury Mohan Jatua won by 1.38 lakh votes in 2014. The other six Assembly segments under Mathurapur were also won by the TMC in 2011.
Roy, also known for her dancing skills, has been among those MLAs of her party who were heard lesser than some of the others in the last five years. The actor-MLA has been accused of ignoring her constituency in the last five years though party supremo Mamata Banerjee defended her at a rally saying she is a guest in the party and can not be expected to run around like politicians.
Banerjee said the TMC government is trying its best to develop Raidighi and asked the people to remain vigilant as she feared the Opposition was planning to rig the April 30 polls. She also told the people that they need to back Roy if they want shanti (peace) and not Kanti.
Kanti Ganguly (CPI(M))
Kanti Ganguly, who had served as the minister in charge of the development of the Sunderbans and others, had won from the now extinct Mathurapur Assembly constituency in 2001 and 2006. Ganguly, who is known to be a man with grassroots connection and was seen working with local people shoulder to shoulder after the devastating Aaila cyclone in the Sunderbans in 2009, is predicted by his party to win Raidighi this time.
However, history also has a cautionary tale for them. In the 2009 Lok Sabha election, Jatua had won from Mathurapur by 1.29 lakh votes despite Ganguly bagging the seat in the 2006 Assembly election.
Kanti Ganguly might have the last laught this time for Roy's image as an 'absentee MLA' might not see the Mamata magic work this time. Had it been an urban centre in Kolkata, Roy could still have a chance but the the Sunderbans, Ganguly's appeal as the down to earth leader could do the trick for him.
Kanti Ganguly 65% Debashree Roy 35%