The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rivals count on sympathy wave in twin bypolls

Calcutta, June 6: After suffering a rout in the panchayat poll, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress is faced with another electoral showdown, with arch rival CPM.

In the twin bypolls on Sunday — for the Nabadwip Lok Sabha seat in Nadia and the Vidyasagar Assembly constituency in Calcutta — “sympathy waves” seem to be playing the most crucial roles.

In Vidyasagar, which fell vacant following CPM legislator and Left Front chief whip Lakshmi De’s death, CPM nominee Anadi Sahu has been carrying De’s portrait at election meetings and seeking the people’s mandate to “complete our late party leader’s unfinished agenda”.

In Nabadwip, where the bypoll was necessitated by Trinamul MP Ananda Mohan Biswas’ heart attack aboard Rajdhani Express, Mamata Banerjee has been carrying out the campaign in the same vein, urging voters to ensure the victory of Abir Biswas, the late MP’s son, to help him finish the latter’s work.

Both the seats will witness triangular contests with the CPM, the Congress and the Trinamul-BJP combine fighting each other.

Buoyed by its performance in the rural poll, the Congress is sparing no effort to win Vidyasagar. By the look of it, at least, suspended Trinamul MP Ajit Panja’s daughter Mahua Mondal, who is fighting on a Congress ticket, is ahead of Trinamul-backed BJP candidate Ashok Sinha in organisation and electioneering.

However, in Nabadwip, Mamata sees a chance. Though the triangular contest has given the CPM much to hope for, Abir Biswas is aiming to ride the crest of a sympathy surge.

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