Is BJP thinking of fielding Amit Shah from Kolkata constituency in 2019?
Kolkata, Oct 31: Is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) planning to field its president Amit Shah from Kolkata North constituency in the next Lok Sabha elections?
According to a report in Ananda Bazar Patrika, speculation is rife that the saffron party could see its heavyweight president contesting from Kolkata North constituency while Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself could contest from the state of Odisha.
The BJP has been eyeing growth and eventually power in the two eastern states of West Bengal and Odisha, which together send 63 MPs to the Lok Sabha. The BJP won only two seats out of 42 in Bengal and one out of 21 in Odisha in the Lok Sabha election in 2014. This time, they could rope in their top two leaders to fight it out from these two states to get more traction in the upcoming general election. There is speculation that Modi could contest from the pilgrimage city of Puri in Odisha (he contested from another holy city of Varanasi in UP last time) and since the coastal city is also going to its Assembly election around the same time, the BJP is eyeing for a double strike.
Coming back to Shah's contesting from Bengal, it is being heard that two seats could be earmarked for Shah, Asansol being the other. The BJP did well in the state in the last Lok Sabha election, getting 17 per cent vote share and the party thinks fielding Shah could give that number a bigger push and put local force Trinamool Congress (TMC) under challenge.
BJP's numbers shot up in Kolkata North & Asansol constituencies in 2014
But why is the BJP thinking about Kolkata North constituency? One factor is the presence of a large non-Bengali population in the area. And secondly, the BJP had done exceedingly well in this seat in 2014.
In 2009, the joint candidate of the TMC and Congress received 52.4 per cent vote share in Kolkata North constituency while the BJP ended third with just four per cent vote-share. The CPI(M) was second with 40 per cent vote share. The winning candidate defeated his nearest rival by 1.09 lakh votes. The BJP candidate polled just 37,044 votes.
In 2014, the TMC was the winner again but this time, the results were vastly different. While the winning candidate's vote-share came down to only 36 per cent (no alliance with the Congress this time), the BJP ended second with 26 per cent of vote share with the margin coming down to 96,226 votes. The CPI(M) finished third with 21 per cent vote share.
In Asansol, which is currently under the BJP, the joint TMC-Congress candidate got 41 per cent vote-share in 2009. The winning candidate, from the CPI(M), got 49 per cent vote-share while the BJP received less than six per cent vote-share. The margin of victory between the winning candidate and his nearest rival was by almost 73,000 votes.
In 2014, the BJP produced a miracle here as well. They won the seat by getting 37 per cent of vote-share while the TMC's vote-share went down to 30.6 per cent. The CPI(M) finished third with just over 22 per cent vote-share.