Kolkata, Nov 18: By-elections will be held in two Lok Sabha constituencies and one Assembly constituency in West Bengal tomorrow under the shadow of the Centre's demonetisation decision.
The by-elections will be held in Cooch Behar and Tamluk Lok Sabha constituencies and in Monteswar Assembly constituency. Ruling Trinamool Congress, BJP, Left Front and Congress have fielded their candidates in all three seats.
Although the Congress and CPI(M)-led Left Front had contested the Assembly polls held earlier this year, the two decided to part company in this round of by-elections. Demonetisation has become a key issue in the last lap of campaign for the by-polls.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee did not campaign for the by-polls and left it to the other leaders of her party. Apart from state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, Union minister Babul Supriyo canvassed for his party.
WBPCC chief Adhir Chowdhury and CPIM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra spearheaded campaign for their party candidates. TMC MLA and party candidate from Tamluk seat Dibyendu Adhikari told PTI, "Demonetisation move has affected every citizen of this country.
The common man is suffering. Demonetisation has also impacted our campaign as we are unable to pay the decorators, sound organisers. In Tamluk, most of the rural areas still don't have proper banking facilities, what will the poor farmers do?" he asked.
According CPI(M) and Congress leaders, demonetisation has all of a sudden come up as an issue for the polls as they are receiving feedback that people are inconvenienced due to the new decision. CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said demonetisation became a prominent issue as the people faced huge problems and added that the situation was much worse in rural areas.
The BJP, on the other hand, said that by-elections would be a litmus test for political parties. "What TMC, Congress and CPI(M) are saying is not right. People of Bengal are happy with the decision and will give a hands down victory to our candidates," state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said. "It's not a question of black money or white money.
All of a sudden if you scrap high value notes how will you meet various expenditures for the campaign," Congress candidate from Monteswar Bulbul Ahmed Sheikh said.
By-election in Cooch Behar was necessitated by the death of TMC MP Renuka Sinha while the by-election in Tamluk in East Medinipur district was caused by the resignation of TMC MP Suvendu Adhikari who also won the Assembly poll and joined the state cabinet as transport minister.
The bypoll to Monteswar Assembly seat in Burdwan district is due to death of TMC MLA Sajal Panja.