Kolkata, Mar 23: The royal seat of Cooch Behar is one such among the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bengal, where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is expected to put up a strong fight.
The BJP pipped the Congress and the CPI(M)-led Left Front to emerge as a main challenger to the ruling TMC in the Gram Panchayat polls and in various byelections held during the past two years.
After failing to reach any consensus on seat sharing with the Congress, the CPI(M)-led Left Front is all alone in its fight to revive itself in its former bastion. With no alliances in place, the state is set to witness a multi-cornered fight.
"Had there been an Opposition alliance, we would have been in a comfortable position in most of these seats. But now things will be different. We have full faith in our leadership and things will change once the campaign starts," a senior TMC leader of North Bengal said.
On the other hand, the BJP will be in a better position to find favour with a sizeable portion of the refugee voters in the border districts following its efforts to bring in the Citizenship Bill.
Besides, a section of the Hindu voters, who are unhappy with the alleged "appeasement politics" of the TMC, will support the BJP, said a leader of the saffron party. The refugees have for the past several decades been a trusted vote bank of the Left.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims who fled religious persecution from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and entered India before December 31, 2014.
West Bengal Pradesh Congress committee president Somen Mitra said it is true that elections will now be more polarised between the TMC and the BJP.
But the CPI(M) needs to understand that it has to be more flexible while working in an alliance. CPI(M) central committee leader Sujan Chakraborty also echoed Mitra's views, but said the Congress should have been more active in order to seal the deal. (UNI)