Kolkata: Following its impressive show in the 2018 panchayat elections in Purulia, the BJP is upbeat about wresting the Lok Sabha seat from the TMC. Left Front constituent AIFB, which held the seat from 1977 to 2011, before losing it to the TMC, is also positive about regaining its lost glory.
But TMC candidate Mriganka Mahato is sure he will win from Purulia for the second consecutive term. He is up against BJP’s Jyotirmoy Singh Mahato, AIFB’s four-time MP Bir Singh Mahato and Congress’ Nepal Mahato.
While the TMC won 234 seats in panchayat samitis in Purulia, the saffron party bagged 142 seats, leaving the Congress with 33 and the Left with 25 seats as distant third and fourth place holders.In the gram panchayats in the three-tier election, the TMC won 838 seats, the BJP 644, the Left 178 and the Congress 150.
The BJP, which came fourth in the 2014 general elections, is the biggest challenger to the TMC in Purulia.The seat was with the Forward Bloc since 1977 till 2014 when TMC’s Mriganka Mahato defeated the Left party in a wave for the Mamata Banerjee-led party.
The TMC won 34 of 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in the last general elections. With Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressing rally in Purulia, the party’s candidate Nepal Mahato did get a boost but the party doesn’t stand much a chance of now, political observers and villagers said.
According to BJP candidate Jyotirmoy Mahato, “People are not with the TMC. They only have goons in their fold. The general public will resist if they try to loot votes.” He claimed the Left has been wiped out from Purulia and most of their supporters have joined the BJP. AIFB contestant Bir Singh Mahato, who has been a four-time MP from the seat, said the so-called BJP wave has been artificially created.”It has no proper leader in the constituency and its supporters have been left directionless, though the party had won quite a good number of seats in the panchayat elections,” he said.