“Whether it’s a three-cornered or a four-cornered contest, I will win, whatever be the margin,” Abhijit said. While 54-year-old Abhijit—a former executive of SAIL— sounded confident about victory, analysts say the changed political equations and shift in vote-share is likely to make the battle a tough one for the son of India’s first citizen.
Murshidabad district in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal has been a Congress bastion since the late nineties under the leadership of Congress strongman and Minister of State for Railways, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Pranab Mukherjee won the seat for the first time in 2004. In 2009, he won by a big margin of 128,000 votes riding on the various developmental projects that he triggered here. The results of the 2012 by-election raised eyebrows as BJP’s vote share rose from 2.3 per cent in 2009 to 10.3 per cent. BJP was considered a political underdog in the 67 per cent Muslim majority seat. The total number of voters in this Lok Sabha seat is over 11 lakh. Apart from statistics, the popular mood too does not seem to be in Abhijit’s favor. He faced wrath of angry villagers of his constituency at Sabirpur in Raghunathgunj over the issue of poor supply of drinking water and abysmal condition of roads. He was forced to abandon his roadshow in the area. Bidi workers, who comprise a large chunk of Jangipur’s electorate, also are not happy with Abhijit’s performance as compared to his father.