BJP’s Bhabanipur bypoll candidate Priyanka Tibrewal (left) with Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri at a campaign event | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
BJP’s Bhabanipur bypoll candidate Priyanka Tibrewal (left) with Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri at a campaign event | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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Kolkata: Bhabanipur has been witness to a high-voltage campaign for the 30 September bypoll on the assembly seat that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is contesting.

Banerjee, who represented the seat in 2011 and 2016, is up against Bharatiya Janata Party’s Priyanka Tibrewal, a relatively new entrant to the party who was inducted in 2014.

The BJP knows the odds are stacked against Tibrewal. Banerjee is the CM and her party is in power in the state. In the elections earlier this year, the seat was won by the Trinamool Congress before the incumbent resigned to let Mamata contest.

But that has not deterred the BJP from carrying out intensive campaigning of its own.

The BJP flew in Union Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri Wednesday.

A Sikh, Puri was specially drafted to campaign in Bhabanipur, which has a sizeable Punjabi population. He visited Gurdwara Sant Kutiya the first day, went to the residences where Subhas Chandra Bose and Syama Prasad Mookerjee once lived. He also chatted with morning walkers at Bhabanipur’s famous Balwant dhaba and ate kachori and aloo ki sabzi at the popular Sharma tea stall.

Three days later, the BJP brought in Smriti Irani, the Union Women and Child Development Minister, for campaigning. Irani was involved in the campaign because of her connection to West Bengal — her mother is Bengali and she speaks fluent Bangla.

Irani started her trip by visiting a temple in Hazra and then carried out a door-to-door campaigning, talking to voters in Bangla.

Compared to the BJP’s, the Left’s campaign was a lonely one. Shrijeeb Biswas, the candidate that the Communist Part of India (Marxist) has nominated, could manage to get only nine to ten party workers and volunteers to campaign with him.

The party, which ruled West Bengal for over three decades, appears to be bereft of resources or manpower as Biswas went on a door-to-door campaign with a lone autorickshaw following him, in which a party worker sat with a mic seeking votes for the candidate.

ThePrint’s National Photo Editor Praveen Jain brings glimpses from the election campaigns of Opposition parties in Kolkata.

BJP’s Bhawanipur bypoll candidate Priyanka Tibrewal during an election campaign | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
BJP’s Bhabanipur bypoll candidate Priyanka Tibrewal during an election campaign event in the constituency | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Priyanka Tibrewal during an election campaign in Bhawanipur | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Priyanka Tibrewal with her entourage at a campaign event in Bhabanipur | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Union Minister Smriti Irani with Priyanka Tibrewal during election campaign in Bhawanipur | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Union minister Smriti Irani accompanied Tibrewal for door-to-door campaigning in Bhabanipur | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Union Minister Smriti Irani talks to locals during the campaign | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Smriti Irani spoke to local residents in Bangla | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Union minister Smriti Irani crosses the road during one of the campaigns | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Union minister Smriti Irani during her door-to-door campaign | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri waves while campaigning in the alleys of Kolkata |Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri waves while campaigning in the alleys of Bhabanipur, Kolkata | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri prays at Gurudwara Nirmal Kutiya in Kolkata | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Hardeep Singh Puri visited and prayed at the Gurdwara Sant Kutiya in Kolkata ahead of campaigning | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri during the campaign | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Puri was primarily brought in to campaign because Bhabanipur has a sizeable Punjabi population | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
BJP leaders (from left to right) Dinesh Trivedi, Hardeep Singh Puri, Priyanka Tibrewal at one of the eateries in Kolkata | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
(From left to right) BJP leaders Dinesh Trivedi, Hardeep Singh Puri and Priyanka Tibrewal at an eatery in Kolkata | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
BJP leaders Dinesh Trivedi on the streets of Kolkata while campaigning | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
BJP leader and former Union minister Dinesh Trivedi also hit the streets in Bhabanipur for bypoll campaigning | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
CPI(M)’s poll campaign was comparatively lacklustre. Party candidate Shrijeeb Biswas with just a handful of party members at Chetla during his campaign | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
CPI(M)’s poll campaign was comparatively lacklustre. Party candidate Shrijeeb Biswas with just a handful of party members at Chetla during his campaign | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Shrijeeb Biswas meets people during his door-to-door campaigning | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Shrijeeb Biswas meets people during his door-to-door campaigning | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
With few party workers and an auto with loudspeaker Srijib Biswas campaigns in Kolkata | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Biswas campaigned with just a few party workers and a solitary autorickshaw with a loudspeaker | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Srijib Biswas greets people during campaigning | Photo: Pravee
Only nine to ten party workers turned up to campaign for Biswas | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint

Also read: Sat Sri Akal, Inshallah, Joy Durga — how Mamata’s speeches change with locality in Bhabanipur


 

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