Kolkata, Apr 15 (PTI) The Rajarhat-Gopalpur constituency in North 24 Parganas district, which will go to the polls in the fifth phase on April 17, is seeing a disparity in the pitching levels of the two main parties in the fray - the TMC and BJP whose candidates have varied levels of experience in electoral politics.
TMC has fielded Aditi Munshi Chakraborty, who is a noted kirtan singer and a political greenhorn. Pitched against her is BJP's state spokesman and the party's veteran leader Shamik Bhattacharya.
The constituency comprises areas like Baguiati, Kestopur, Jyangra, parts of arterial VIP Road, Jawpur and some parts of Nagerbazar of the city with an electorate base of more that 2.40 lakh people.
The constituency has a vast refugee belt where people who came from erstwhile East Bengal during Partition have settled.
Chakraborty has replaced TMC's sitting MLA Purnendu Bose, who has not been given the ticket on health grounds.
The relatively younger woman is tasked with the work of carrying the TMC baton forward in the face of intense competition from the BJP.
She is taking on Bhattacharya, who had been an MLA from Basirhat constituency also in North 24 Parganas.
Munshi says that she was born and brought up in the area and the pulse of the people is known to her.
'Though the experience (of electoral fight) is different, it is my responsibility to work for the party and take my assigned duties forward,' she said.
Bhattacharya sounds confident of his win. He says he is aware of the problems faced by the people of the area.
'Waterlogging has been a permanent feature in some places of the constituency. There is also an overall problem of quality drinking water and the infrastructure needs a boost,' he said.
Though the constituency is adjacent to the Rajarhat- Newtown assembly constituency, the 'scourge' of the syndicates is less severe, he agrees.
BJP has been critical of syndicates operating in the private housing sector of the state and has blamed the ruling TMC for it.
'Though syndicates are there, it is not as severe as in other places like Rajarhar-Newtown', he said.
Rajarhat-Newtown is a newly developed satellite township with modern facilities like shopping malls, highrises, five star hotels, amusement parks and a number of universities.
The importance of Rajarhat-Gopalpur constituency is that it serves as the gateway to the city's international airport and includes the faraway fringes of the city.
Asked about the challenges she is facing, Chakraborty said 'I am not facing much. Since I am musically connected with the people and not politically, the acceptance is spontaneous. People are accepting me'.
She said, 'My first job if I win is to take the government schemes to the people and improve the culture of the locality'.
On the issue of syndicates, she said 'So far I have not received any complaints on that'.
The third important candidate is CPI-M's Subhojit Dasgupta who banks on the dedicated voters of the Left party, which has formed a pre-poll alliance with the Congress and Indian Secular Front of Abbas Siddiqui.
Samar Banik, a resident of the constituency, said although road infrastructure has improved to some extent during the past ten years under the TMC, but waterlogging in many low-lying areas remains a big problem in the constituency.
Asked whether contentitious issues like Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens often brought up by BJP bother him, Sudipto Bhattacharya, a resident of Jawpur shot back 'Of course. The parents of most of the people here had migrated from East Bengal during Partition.
Mine, my children's education were all here.
'If we are not granted citizenship rights, where will we go now? he asked.
He is echoed by many others. PTI dc KK KK KK