TMC fields Sinha, Babul for upcoming bypolls

The selection of “Shotgun Sinha’ to contest in TMC ticket has been that a whopping 52 per cent of voters of Asansol are non Bengalis and in the 2014 polls, the party annoyed them by calling Mehman or guests.

TMC fields Sinha, Babul for upcoming bypolls

WB CM Mamata Banerjee (PTI file photo)

Aday after the Election Commission of India announced the bypoll dates, Trinamul Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee announced that the party is fielding actor-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha from Asansol Lok Sabha seat and Babul Supriyo from Ballygunge Assembly seat.

The Election Commission of India yesterday declared that by-elections in West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Maharashtra will be held on 12 April. Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee posted on social media: “Happy to announce on behalf of the All India Trinamool Congress that Sri Shatrughan Sinha, former Union Minister and famed actor, will be our candidate in Loksabha by-election from Asansol. Sri Babul Supriyo, former union minister and noted singer, will be our candidate in Vidhansabha by-election from Ballygunge. Jai Hind, Jai Bangla, Jai Ma- Mati- Manush!’

Political analysts feel that this is a masterstroke by Mamata Banerjee. Eyeing 2024 Lok Sabha poll, Miss Banerjee decided to field a national leader like Shatrughan Sinha as Trinamul Congress candidate for Asansol Lok Sabha by-poll. Moreover, Asansol has a large population of Hindi speaking people among whom Shatrughan Sinha is likely to be acceptable. The Asansol Lok Sabha seat remained vacant after the then sitting BJP MP Babul Supriyo left BJP and joined Trinamul Congress. He also resigned from Lok Sabha.


Meanwhile, due to the death of the then state panchayat and rural affairs minister Subrata Mukherjee, the Ballygunge Assembly seat fell vacant. Mr Sinha was Lok Sabha MP for for 10 years from 2009 to 2019. Moreover, he was Rajya Sabha MP from 1996 to 2008. He was also a Union minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government. In 2019 , he joined Congress and later he joined Trinamul Congress.

Political analysts feel that Ballygunge Assembly seat is a safe seat for Trinamul Congress. Miss Banerjee has earlier promised Babul Supriyo a plum post. Party insiders said if Babul Supriyo is elected from Ballygunge Assembly constituency, he will be inducted into the state cabinet. Mr Supriyo later told the reporters that he was extremely happy to be selected as a candidate from Ballygunge constituency. “I love Ballygunge Assembly constituency I sincerely thank Mamata Banerjee and Trinamul Congress for fielding me as a candidate of prestigious Ballygunge Assembly seat.”

TMC’s move to break the jinx: In an all out effort to break the jinx, Trinamul Congress Supremo Mamata Banerjee has selected Bihari Babu Shatrughan Sinha as the party candidate for the Asansol Lok Sabha by polls. A former BJP Union minister Sinha has already joined the TMC. The seat became vacant after BJP MP, Babul Supriyo resigned from his MP post in October last year after being dropped from the Narendra Modi cabinet.

Ironically, as a consolation today, Babul Supriyo has been nominated as the TMC candidate from the Ballygunge assembly seat, which has been lying vacant after the death of panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee a few months back. Mr Supriyo is likely to become a state minister now, TMC sources said.

Despite spectacular performance of TMC in 2009 Lok Sabha polls in the state, party candidate Moloy Ghatak lost to Bansa Gopal Choudhury of CPI-M, in 2014 Dola Sen lost to Babul Supriyo and in 2019 Moon Moon Sen lost to Babul Supriyo by a heavy margin. The selection of “Shotgun Sinha’ to contest in TMC ticket has been that a whopping 52 per cent of voters of Asansol are non Bengalis and in the 2014 polls, the party annoyed them by calling Mehman or guests.

Names of Babul Supriyo, Tapas Banerjee and Sayoni Ghosh were also discussed but Miss Banerjee gave her stamp of approval to the candidature of Satrughan Sinha, the veteran actor who has played a key role in the Amitabh Bachchan starrer bollywood block blaster movie Kala Patthar, which was based on the Chasnala colliery disaster of Burnpur based Iisco Steel Plant in 1975, independent India’s biggest coal mine accident in which 375 miners were buried.

“It’s an obvious attempt to woo back the Bihari and non-Bengali voters of Asansol as the TMC supremo is very keen to break the Asansol defeat jinx,” said Professor Suhrid Basu Mallick. The BJP which is buoyant after its recent victories in four states, has called a meeting tomorrow in Kolkata.

Former Asansol mayor, Jitendra Tiwari, who has played a key role in winning few seats in the civic polls recently, is ahead in the race so far, he is also a powerful and popular non Bengali leader. The TMC has lost in around 90 wards of AMC in 2019 Lok Sabha polls and 66 in the 2021 assembly polls in the state and the BJP feels that they have a fair chance with the Central Paramilitary forces guarding the booths this time.

Law and judiciary minister Moloy Ghatak has announced that those councillors who will give the maximum number of leads from their wards will be selected for the posts of 6 MMICs and 10 borough chairmans of Asansol Municipal Corporation. Retaining the minority votes will be a major concern for the TMC as it has lost a number of minority-dominated wards recently to Congress and the CPI-M.