In Behala Purba, 3 women lead the fight for the turf of the former mayor of Kolkata

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BJP’s Payel Sarkar said people don’t care about candidates but vote based on party promises

Calcutta:

A notable home in the bourgeois locality of Parnasree Pally in southern Kolkata is the residence of Ratna Chatterjee, the Trinamool Congressional candidate of Behala Purba, who is fighting for her first election, amid a bitter separation from her husband Sovan Chatterjee, the former mayor of Kolkata and seat deputy who joined the BJP at the end of 2019.

“Since childhood, I have seen a lot of elections. First it was my parents and then my husband. So this is nothing new to me. However, this is my first election as a candidate so there is a bit of excitement. (CM) Mamata Banerjee has worked a lot for people, so as a TMC candidate I don’t have a lot of pressure to reach people, ”Ms. Chatterjee told PTI.

Sovan Chatterjee left the BJP with his friend Baishakhi Banerjee after being refused nominations by the opposition party. Plus, as mayor, he won the seat for two consecutive terms – 2011 and 2016. He also wanted to contest constituency this time around, but the BJP chose to feature actor Payel Sarkar.

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“The party, not the candidate, is more important. But yes, if Sovan had been aligned by the BJP, family issues would have been brought into the public domain, I was saved,” said Ratna Chatterjee, 49. .

BJP’s Payel Sarkar said people don’t care about candidates but vote based on party promises and track records.

Ms Sarkar, 39, who has performed in popular Bengali hits such as ‘Bojhena Se Bojhena’ and ‘Prem Amar’, now starts her day at 7 a.m., campaigning fiercely in the alleys and back streets. lanes of the constituency, which stretches from New Alipore to Joka, home to IIM, Calcutta.

“I’ve always been interested in politics. Since 2014, I have been very closely following Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the kind of work the BJP has done in other states. It was very inspiring, ”she said, taking a break after the morning. campaign at his electoral office.

Dismissing criticism that celebrities disappear from public life after the election is over, the actor said it was a misconception.

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IPC (M) candidate Samita Har Chowdhury, 52, said she was confident her party would be able to regain its voting base.

“You have to understand that Lok Sabha is different from an assembly election. People voted for a government in the center and we, the left, couldn’t provide an alternative there. So they left us. , during the election campaign, we are now witnesses that our supporters are coming back and joining us, ”she declared.

TMC won the Behala Purba seat in 2016 by garnering around 47% of the vote, while an independent candidate backed by the left held 36% of the vote. BJP came in third with around 10 percent.

However, the scenario changed during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Although the Trinamool Congress led with 43.32% of the vote in Behala Purba, the BJP came second with 35.63% of the vote. The CPI (M) was a distant third at 15.90 percent.

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The seat has a total of 3.07 lakh voters.

Behala Purba, which has been seen as a stronghold of the TMC for the past decade, has more female voters (1.56 lakh) than male (1.51 lakh), probably because of which the top three candidates are women.

“TMC was the first to announce my name. I don’t know, if this is what forced the BJP and CPI (M) to submit female candidates. However, previously politics was dominated by men, we are now seeing a change, ”Ms Chatterjee mentioned.

Ms Sarkar said it was “fantastic” that all of the main contenders were women, while Ms Chowdhury, a full-time IPC (M) worker, said that instead of seeing herself as a woman in a fight with two others, she was preoccupied with the two parties she was arguing against. “My fight is with the ideologies of the TMC and the BJP.”

Behala Purba will go to the polls in Phase Four on April 10. Votes will be counted along with 293 other West Bengal constituencies on May 2.

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