Kolkata, April 29: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will take on former Union minister Deepa Dasmunsi in this year's Assembly election from Bhabanipur on Saturday (April 30). [Didi vs Boudi: Biggest battle of Bengal polls 2016]
This is the first time since 2001 that an incumbent chief minister of West Bengal is taking on a woman opponent in the state election. In 2011, Mamata defeated a woman candidate in Nalini Mukherjee in a by-election from Bhabanipur but she was not an MLA till that election. [Mamata has no CPI(M) rival for first time]
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee defeated actor Madhabi Mukherjee in 2001
In the election held 15 years ago, the then chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee of the CPI(M) had won his first election as the CM against veteran actor Madhabi Mukherjee of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Jadavpur constituency.
Bhattacharjee defeated Mukherjee by over 29,000 votes. It was the TMC's first Assembly election. [Mamata has lost just one election till date]
Bhattacharjee had won from Jadavpur constituency in South Kolkata for five consecutive times since 1987 before losing to former chief secretary of the state Monish Gupta, the current power minister, in 2011.
This year, can the current chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, repeat Bhattcharjee's feat against Deepa, the Congress candidate who has been backed by the Left as the two Opposition parties have entered an electoral understanding for this poll.
Banerjee, however, has defeated a number of women opponents in the past barring in 1989 when she had lost to the CPI(M)'s Malini Bhattacharya as a Congress candidate.
The late Jyoti Basu, who served as the chief minister of Bengal for 23 years between 1977 and 2000, however, did not contest against any woman candidate ever.