Post break-up assessment

On the other hand, Humayun Kabir, once a close aide of Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury, have been telling people of Rejinagar that he has been "backstabbed by his brother (Adhir)". Adhir, now a Union minister, has also been aggressively campaigning in the area though he is not on the ballot paper. The reason he wants to see Kabir defeated. "In the campaign, I went on apologising to the people as in the last Assembly elections, I had requested them to vote for Kabir who turned out to be Mir Jafar," he said invoking the 19th century Bengal royalty who sided with the British against the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daulah, in the Battle of Plassey.

Minority, a majority

The bypoll results are also crucial from the viewpoint of who gets the minority votes. All the three constituencies have a large number of minority population. Mamata's consistent effort to woo the community by announcing sops will be also on test during the voting. The impact of her controversial decision of giving stipends to Muslim clerics and muezzins will also be keenly observed by the political pundits. But a confident Trinamool minister for North Bengal Development Gautam Deb, says Muslims will vote for Mamata. "Muslims have realised that they do not have any alternative other than Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool chief is their only leader," he said.

Though all the three seats are considered to witness triangular contest, no one denies that new electoral equation could be thrown up. The recent Jangipur Lok Sabha bypoll, which was necessitated by the resignation of Pranab Mukherjee to become the President of India, was a pointer in this regard. Mukherjee's son, Abhijit, won the seat with threadbare margin — 2,536 votes. Interestingly, the Trinamool had not fielded its candidate in Jangipur. Congress leaders say had the Trinamool been in the fray, the seat would have been won by the CPM. The reason for the drastic drop in the Congress vote share was partly attributed to the communal politics that played out in the constituency located close to border with Bangladesh with a huge number of Muslim voters. The Jangipur bypoll highlighted the emergence of religion-based identity politics with such outfits like All India United Democratic Front and Siddiqullah Chowdhury's PDCI bagging around 20 per cent votes. The BJP too had got a significant vote share (11 percent). In all the three Assembly seats, AIUDF, PDCI and BJP have fielded their candidates.

... contd.

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