Battleground Barrackpore: BJP’s Arjun Singh Banks on Ram And Modi, TMC’s Partha Bhowmick Makes Development Pitch – News18

“Jo Ram ko laaye hain hum unko laayenge (We will choose those who brought Ram)” is the slogan that rings out in Bharatiya Janata Party Lok Sabha election candidate Arjun Singh’s campaign in West Bengal’s Barrackpore constituency. The fight here is between Singh, who again joined the BJP after being denied the election ticket by the Trinamool Congress, and TMC minister Partha Bhowmick, who is a close lieutenant of Abhishek Banerjee.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Arjun Singh when denied a ticket by Trinamool switched to the BJP, won the Barrackpore seat, but then returned to the TMC.

Sources say many local BJP cadres were initially unhappy with Arjun Singh being picked as the candidate given his history. But, as the May 20 polls approach, the area’s BJP leaders say they understand why Singh went back to the TMC and what were his “compulsions”.

Speaking to News18, BJP worker Samrat Choudhury said, “We know Arjun Singh is winning here. We believe in Narendra Modi. Whatever the party instructs we will do. We need to help Modi win. Arjun has more than 160 cases against him. He did not go back to the TMC happily. Now he is back and we are very pleased.”

Vinesh Jaiswal, another BJP worker, told News18, “For us Modi matters. We are sure that Arjun will win this time with a thumping majority.”

On May 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned in Barrackpore. Not only that, he also wrote a letter to Arjun Singh stating that the PM believes the people will pick the incumbent MP with a huge number of votes.

Barrackpore has a 30 to 35 per cent Hindi-speaking population and so the issue of “Ram” would definitely work, feel BJP supporters. The last time the BJP won by more than 14,000 votes.

Arjun Singh who is known as a strongman of this region has been in municipality and assembly politics here for a long time. Various jute mills are there and sickening Jute mills are definitely an issue in Barrackpore.

Speaking to News18, Arjun Singh said, “The people of Barrackpore consider me their son, brother, and friend. So no matter what, the people here will vote for me. They are not bothered about anything else. I am fighting the extortion of Mamata’s raj.”

The assembly constituencies in Barrackpore are Titagarh, Amdanga, Bhatpara, Jagaddal, Bijpur, Noapara, Barrackpore, and Naihati. All these areas have a mixed cosmopolitan population and that is one of the most important characteristics of Barrackpore.

Though Arjun Singh joined just before the election, BJP insiders stated that the party took him because of the winnability factor.

Partha Bhowmick who is an influential minister of the TMC is contesting against Arjun Singh. Bhowmick and some Trinamool MLAs were always against Arjun Singh. Sources inside the party said that some MLAs even told the Trinamool high command that if Arjun Singh got the ticket, he would leave the party. Now, helping Partha Bhowmick win is also a big challenge for these MLAs.

TMC sources say both Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee campaigned in Barrackpore and carried out development projects in Bengal. Also, they allege Arjun Singh’s reign in Barrackpore is “antisocial”.

Abhishek Banerjee also mentioned in his campaign that on June 4 (counting day) Arjun will lose, but the party will not take him back.

Partha Bhowmick told voters in Barrackpore: “Our campaign is for development. Our campaign is not for crime.”

Amid all this, maintaining peace in Barrackpore during the polls will be a big challenge for authorities as there was violence during the 2019 edition.

Locals have mixed feelings about the contest. Meenu Agarwal from Titagarh city, which is part of the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency, told News18 at a tea shop in the area, “The wind is blowing in every direction, but we have to see who will actually work for us and give us security.”

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