Constituency watch: BJP has an advantage in Bengal’s Alipurduar LS constituency

Kolkata: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Manoj Tigga in the tribal-dominated Alipurduar Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal has an advantage in the upcoming elections as he is considered to be the strong candidate given his influence in the party and in the state Assembly.

Alipurduar constituency will go to polls in the first phase on April 19. The BJP has replaced the sitting MP John Barla with Tigga, an MLA from Madarihat, one of the seven assembly constituencies under Alipurduar constituency.

Tigga is also BJP’s Chief Whip in the Assembly.

The first advantage for Tigga is the huge victory margin for BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In the 2019 general elections, John Barla secured 7,60,804 votes (54.40 per cent of the total votes) and defeated Trinamool Congress’s Dasrath Tirkey who secured just 5,06, 815 votes (36.73 per cent).

The second advantage for Tigga is his popularity in the Alipurduar district both as party organiser and his role in the Assembly as the Chief Whip.

The third advantage is that even in the massive Trinamool Congress wave which was reflected in the 2021 state assembly elections, BJP was victorious in the majority of seven assembly constituencies under Alipurduar constituency.

Finally, BJP’s winning margin in 2019 was achieved following organisational preparations. This time, the BJP has made a watertight organisational structure for the party in Alipurduar.

The only thing that can go against BJP is Barla being denied the re-nomination. Barla and his close associates in the BJP-affiliated tea garden workers’ association have become more or less inactive and are yet to hit the streets in support of Tigga.

Trinamool Congress has fielded the party Rajya Sabha member Prakash Chik Baraik. In his campaigns, Baraik is focussing on this subaltern image as an erstwhile ordinary tea garden worker. Baraik’s advantage is his substantial influence in the area as Trinamool Congress’s District President in Alipurduar.

The Left Front constituent Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) has fielded Mili Oraon. She contested in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and finished third securing 54,010 votes (3.91 per cent) with her deposit being forfeited.

Alipurduar has been traditionally a strong bastion of RSP since 1988. Even in the midst of the Trinamool Congress wave in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the RSP candidate Manohar Tirkey was elected by a comfortable margin of over 1.12 lakh votes.

IANS

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