Singer Babul Supriyo was elected MP from Asansol Lok Sabha seat in 2019. He had won from the same seat in 2014 as well. The seat fell vacant after his resignation from BJP. He later joined TMC. TMC has now made Babul its candidate from Ballygunge seat (Ballygunge Bypolls).
That’s why TMC brought down Shatrughan
Asansol is the seat which has a large number of non-Bengali voters. That is why TMC has fielded actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha from the Asansol ground. When Shatrughan Sinha was attacked by calling him an outsider, he replied that he is not an outsider. He has acted in films here.
BJP calls Agnimitra Paul the daughter of the house
The BJP termed Sinha as Bihari Babu and called Agnimitra Paul the daughter of the house. The TMC is claiming victory on this seat, based on the popularity of Shatrughan Sinha and his hold among the Hindi-speaking population. The ruling Trinamool in Bengal has never tasted victory in the Asansol Lok Sabha seat, but this time it is working hard to break the myth.
BJP is leaving no stone unturned to tell outsiders
The debate between Bengali and outsider is going on in the Lok Sabha by-election. It is this electoral gamble that helped the Trinamool defeat the BJP in the last year’s assembly elections. However, this time the Trinamool is being accused of fielding an outside candidate. BJP is leaving no stone unturned to call Sinha an outsider.
45% Hindi speaking voters
About 15 lakh voters present in the Asansol Lok Sabha seat are coal mine workers, factory workers and small businessmen. About 45 percent of the voters are Hindi speaking. The region also has a minority population of about 15 percent. According to Trinamool sources, Sinha, a two-time MP from Patna Sahib, is part of the party’s national outreach strategy. Sinha has worked in Delhi for most of his political career.
‘I speak myself in Bengali, dialogues are not dubbed’
Sinha, popularly known as ‘Shotgun’ to fans for his loud dialogues in films, however, has rejected the extraneous tag given to him by his rivals. Sinha remained in the BJP for four decades, after which he briefly joined the Congress and then joined the Trinamool. Sinha says, ‘I am no less a Bengali than any other Bengali. I am not an outsider. I have always loved Bengali language and Bengali culture. I have done many films in Bengal and the Bengali dialogues that I speak in films are not dubbed.
‘Bengal always in my heart’
Sinha, who was a cabinet minister in former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government, said, “Like my birthplace Bihar, Bengal has always been in my heart.” BJP candidate and MLA from Asansol South seat, Paul, hit out at Sinha, asking what the Trinamool would say about it, which had labeled BJP leaders from other states as outsiders ahead of last year’s assembly elections.
‘I was born and raised here’
Expressing hope of BJP’s victory in this seat, Paul said, “I was born and brought up here. I am an MLA from this area, but the Trinamool candidate has nothing to do with West Bengal or this place. The Trinamool used to term BJP leaders as ‘outsiders’ during the assembly elections. He must explain this duality.’
Congress candidate called himself the son of earth
Regarding the contest in the Lok Sabha seat of the industrial town of Asansol in West Bardhaman district, the Congress says that its candidate is Dhartiputra while Sinha is an outsider. The people of Asansol want that they should be represented in the Lok Sabha by the aadmi (local person) of their house. All these years Asansol has been suffering only because they have elected outsiders as their representatives.
‘I am not a leader’
Congress candidate Prasenjit Puitundya said, “I was born and brought up here. I know every brick of Asansol and people know me very well. I understand the issues of Asansol and also know what damage Babul Supriyo has done to Asansol. I am not a leader but a son. He said that Agnimitra is like my elder sister and she is also from Asansol. But I have some doubt whether he has any idea about what the people of Asansol want. She has moved to Kolkata and has been living there for the past decade.
Wind changed in 2014
The Asansol Lok Sabha constituency remained largely a Congress stronghold till the late 1980s. However, in 1989 it became a CPM stronghold. The wind changed in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the people of Asansol won the BJP candidate Supriyo, who was new to politics at that time.
BJP got 51.16 percent votes in 2019
Supriyo got 36.75 percent votes in 2014, which increased to 51.16 percent in the 2019 elections. However, the Trinamool had won five of the seven seats in the 2021 assembly elections, taking a strong lead in the region. The party is expecting similar charisma in the by-polls as well.
voting on tuesday
Voting for the Asansol seat will begin at 7 am on April 12 and will end at 5 pm. A total of 133 companies of central security forces have been deployed for the elections. Live webcasting will be done at 51 percent polling stations of the Lok Sabha seat. 680 have been declared vulnerable in 2,012 polling stations in Asansol. Eight candidates are in the fray from the Asansol Lok Sabha seat, while the main contest is believed to be between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP.