He was once called the king of Siliguri. But veteran communist leader Ashok Bhattacharya’s influence in the north Bengal city seems to be waning. This was evident in the thin crowd of supporters around him as he went about seeking votes for the seventh consecutive time. The sitting MLA has won all but one (2011) election from Siliguri since 1991.
Once a heavyweight minister in the Jyoti Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee governments, Bhattacharya was seen as a development man who brought together the varied sections of the Siliguri population. The city is close to Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Tibet, and is seen as an important strategic point for India.
Wearing a plain shirt and crumpled trousers, Bhattacharya extended his hands to voters while campaigning. “Vote for our future. Do not vote emotionally,” he told them. The people smiled, but did not commit. The violence in the state has marred the flavour of the elections this time.
Bhattacharya, who has previously survived challenges from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress, is now on a sticky wicket because of the recent saffron surge. His confidant Sankar Ghosh has joined the BJP. An internal study by the BJP had found that it was Bhattacharya and not Mamata, who was its main challenge in Siliguri. And so, a coup was apparently arranged. Ghosh and several others switched to the BJP. He will now take on Bhattacharya.
Asked about this, an unflustered Bhattacharya said, “I am not at all worried about who has left me. I have groomed many others. If they desert me, it is their own problem. Mind my words, I will win this seat again.”
Bhattacharya is also known as the bridge between the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the influential people in the state, including superstar actors and sports legends.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Left proves right
Pinarayi Vijayan’s focus on welfare schemes, infra projects and good governance reaped rich dividends
Vaccination should be free for all citizens
Dr T. Jacob John, clinical virologist
In his first term as chief minister, M.K. Stalin will have to deal with a strong opposition, an unfriendly Central government and an economy ravaged by the pandemic
A growing number of Indians who have recovered from Covid-19 are falling prey to a silent pandemic—the long-Covid syndrome
Assembly poll results show that the Congress is facing an existential crisis and is fast losing national relevance, but the party claims that only it has the national perspective required to hold the country together
The fairer force
Women voters in Kerala powered LDF to victory
A section of the left supporters and Muslims gave Mamata a historic win
Foothold to stronghold
The BJP managed better chemistry with the Assam electorate, trumping the grand alliance's arithmetic
Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Katchi sprung a surprise this time, hurting the prospects of both the DMK and the AIADMK
Over-reliance on Trinamool turncoats and Modi's charm cost the BJP in Bengal
India Election Body Struggles With Scale Of Fake Information
When India’s Election Commission announced last month that its code of conduct would have to be followed by social media companies as well as political parties, some analysts scoffed, saying it lacked the capacity and speed required to check the spread of fake news ahead of a multi-phase general election that begins April 11.
India At A Crossroads
India is known as the land of contradictions, and recent events do little to undermine that reputation.
शुभेदु अधिकारी चुने गए विधानसभा में विपक्ष के नेता, मनोज टिग्गा बने उपनेता
मुकुल रॉय ने शुभेंदु के नाम का प्रस्ताव दिया, 22 विधायकों ने किया समर्थन
हिमंत बिस्वा सरमा ने असम के 15वें मुख्यमंत्री के रूप में शपथ ली
भाजपा नेता और पूर्वोत्तर प्रजातांत्रिक गठबंधन के संयोजक हिमंत बिस्वा सरमा ने असम के 15वें मुख्यमंत्री के रूप में सोमवार को शपथ ली।
READY FOR BATTLE
ASSAM ELECTION 2021
Himanta & 13 mantris, 10 from BJP, take oath
Guwahati: BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma, was on Monday sworn-in as the 15th chief minister of Assam by Governor Jagadish Mukhi at the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra, a major cultural institution, in Guwahati.
BJP rejects Delhi govt's claim on vaccine orders
BJP on Monday asked the AAP government in Delhi to explain as to how many vaccines it has actually ordered with party spokesperson Sambit Patra releasing copies of letters which said that the state plans to procure vaccines from Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech rather than concrete requests for supply.
देहात में फीका पड़ा कमल
उत्तर प्रदेश पंचायत चुनाव
हाल में संपन्न हुए चार राज्यों और एक केंद्र शासित प्रदेश के चुनावों में ध्रुवीकरण की लंबे समय से की जा रही कोशिशें अपेक्षित कामयाबी नहीं दे पाईं, तो, क्या ध्रुवीकरण का आकर्षण मतदाताओं में कम होने लगा?
भाजपा के विस्तार में अहम होगा असम का यह नेतृत्व परिवर्तन
कांग्रेसी पृष्ठभूमि से रहे सरमा किसी बड़े राज्य में भाजपा के पहले मुख्यमंत्री