Kolkata, Oct 26 : West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP will have their first trial of strength after the Lok Sabha polls with three Assembly constituencies slated to hold by-elections on November 25.
The Election Commission on Friday announced the schedule for the bypolls to the Kharagarpur Sadar, Karimpur and Kaliaganj seats, where the nomination process is set to begin from November 6 after the gazette notification on October 30.
The Trinamool lost ground to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the April-May Lok Sabha polls, where the saffron party came up with its best-ever performance in the state grabbing 18 seats – up from two it had won in 2014. The Trinamool, which had bagged 34 seats in 2014, had to be satisfied with 22 this time around.
Since then, the Trinamool has roped in poll expert Prashant Kishore who has devised various mass outreach programmes for the state’s ruling party. The bypolls thus would afford an opportunity for the Trinamool to see the impact on the ground of Kishore’s strategies.
On the other hand, the BJP would use the poll to gauge whether it still retains the momentum which led it to its finest performance in the Lok Sabha polls, and whether the issue of a proposed National Register of Citizens in Bengal has a good support or not among the people.
Another subject of interest would be the performance of the Left parties and Congress which have decided to forge an understanding for the three seats.
As per the understanding, the Congress will contest Kharagarpur Sadar and Kaliaganj and the Left will be in fray in Karimpur. The allies hope to announce their candidates in the next few days.
During the general elections, the BJP led in the assembly segments of Kharagpur Sadar and Kaliaganj, while the Trinamool was ahead in Karimpur.
The polls at Kharagpur Sadar and Karimpur were necessitated after the MLAs from the respective seats won the Lok Sabha polls.
State BJP President and Kharagpur MLA Dilip Ghosh was elected from Medinipur, while Trinamool’s Mahua Moitra – legislator from Karimpur – won the Krishnanagar seat.
The bypolls in Kaliaganj were necessitated to the death of Congress MLA Pramath Nath Roy in May.