Chief minister Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to attend a state government-run public benefits distribution programme in Murshidabad’s Sagardighi on Monday, some two months ahead of a bypoll likely at the Assembly constituency there in the wake of the December 29 demise of Trinamul MLA Subrata Saha.
Saha was in his third term in office when he died.
Sources said the chief minister’s short trip to Murshidabad was significant given that the Election Commission of India could announce the bypoll in Sagardighi Assembly constituency alongside the Assembly polls in two Northeast Meghalaya and Tripura in March.
“Although she does not have a political rally scheduled in her trip (on Monday), she will certainly discuss the present situation of the constituency with district leaders on the sidelines of the government programme,” said a senior Trinamul leader in Murshidabad.
“This would send a positive message to the people of this Assembly segment. Her trip is important also because the party has already started its required exercise for the bypolls in Sagardighi,” the leader added.
Mamata, who has a busy schedule in the second-half of January, is slated to reach Alipurduar on Tuesday and proceed to a rally in Meghalaya. The Meghalaya Trinamul Congress on Sunday issued a media release stating that the party’s chairperson, Mamata, would attend a public meeting at the Dilma Apal playground at Mendipathar in North Garo Hills on Wednesday.
“After attending the programme in Sagardighi, she will return to Calcutta and start for Aliupurduar on Tuesday,” said a source aware of Mamata’s itinerary.
Apart from the distribution of government benefits, Mamata will also inaugurate the newly built Murshidabad Bhavan in New Town and lay foundation stones for two new Circuit Houses in Kandi and Jangipur, said Murshidabad zilla parishad chief Samsuzzoha Biswas.
Sources said Trinamul is keen on establishing its presence in the Sagardighi seat, where it won all three Assembly polls since 2011.
Trinamul insiders said that focusing on Sagardighi was important for them as the ruling party had been suffering from factional feuds following the demise of its MLA.
“The Congress has reportedly set its sights on the Assembly seat and intensified activities to regain its old bastion,” the source added.
“The Congress spent a day of its (Bengal edition of) Bharat Jodo Yatra, headed by state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, in Sagardighi keeping the bypolls in mind. The Left, especially the CPM, is eager to form an alliance with the Congress for the seat. So the visit of our chairperson is very significant at this moment,” said a senior Trinamul leader.