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Bhowanipore bypoll: BJP divided over candidature against Didi

Several leaders and workers of the constituency have conveyed to state leaders that they are against the possible candidature of Rudranil Ghosh

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar Calcutta Published 07.09.21, 02:28 AM
Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee File picture

The BJP was on Monday divided over whether it should field a candidate against Mamata Banerjee in the Bhowanipore Assembly seat or approach the judiciary against the byelection even as just four days were left for the filing of nominations.

While Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh reiterated that the party was considering legal options to challenge the Election Commission of India’s decision of holding the bypoll in Bhowanipore, the party’s chief spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya made it clear that the saffron camp was in no mood to bypass the battle by taking the matter to courtrooms.


“We will not hide behind the law to run away from the battlefield....The BJP will contest the Bhowanipore bypoll with full strength,” said Bhattacharya.

Earlier in the day, Ghosh, who was at a BJP programme in East Burdwan’s Panagarh, had said “there was something wrong” with the poll panel’s decision and the party was taking legal advice on the issue to contest the decision.

A section of the South Calcutta organisation district leadership, sources said, placed the demand for a local candidate for the bypoll, while senior leaders said they were exploring the possibility of fielding a prominent face.

Several leaders and workers of the Bhowanipore constituency have conveyed to state leaders that they are against the possible candidature of Rudranil Ghosh, who had been fielded against Trinamul’s Sovandeb Chattopadhyay from the same seat this year.

“Rudranil has been scarcely available after the polls.... One who doesn’t stand beside his workers during the crisis cannot be our candidate again...,” a worker of the Bhowanipore seat said.

Also, Ghosh is a resident of Howrah .

Amid the confusion on who can take on Mamata, the possibility of Nandigram MLA Suvendu Adhikari as a candidate in Bhowanipore has already started doing the rounds.

Asked whether he was willing to take on Mamata once more, Adhikari said he was a disciplined BJP worker and would contest if the party asked him to do so.

But Dilip Ghosh swatted away the possibility.

“He (Suvendu) has already defeated her (Mamata) once.... Someone else will get the chance this time...,” Ghosh said.

Some sources in the party said the name of state vice-president Pratap Banerjee was also being considered.

State Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday hinted that his party was considering contesting the Bhowanipore bypoll. Earlier, he had publicly said that there was no point fielding a candidate against Mamata who had come back to power for a third term with a landslide victory.

After a meeting of the state Congress unit on Monday, Chowdhury said: “That was my personal opinion and not the party’s stand... However after that, the situation has been rapidly changing.... We have had a discussion today and our leaders have voiced their opinion.... We will let the high command know about this and they will take a final call...,” Chowdhury told journalists.

He added that the Congress was in constant touch with the CPM — with which it had forged an alliance during the Assembly polls — and would inform the Left party about the Congress’s decision as and when it was finalised.

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