By-elections in West Bengal's Kanthi Dakshin constituency will be held on April 9. Kanthi Dakshin is one of the 15 constituencies in East Midnapore district, which was once a cradle of anti-land acquisition movement.
But this time, the issue could be different and the district is all set to witness religion and communal polarisation as the main issues in the coming bypoll.
The four-cornered by-election in the district's Kanthi Dakshin assembly seat will take place on April 9 and the counting will take place on April 13.The by-election is being held after sitting MLADibyendu Adhikari's election to Lok Sabha from Tamluk seat.
Apart from TMC, Congress, BJP and Left Front-supportedCPI candidate, a SUCI(C) candidate is also in the fray.
According to both ruling TMC and opposition Congress, BJP and Left, the issue of appeasement politics and communal polarisation will be the major factors in the by-poll in theKathi Dakshin seat, which has 20 per cent Muslim population.
The recent tussle between the TMC government and the RSS-BJP combine over the Ram Navami rallies in the state is also likely to have an impact as RSS has a strong organisational base in Midnapore area.
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"The RSS-BJP are trying to spread the poison of communalisation throughout the country and in Bengal, which has a glorious history of communal harmony. Our main issue is to defeat the vindictive and communal politics of RSS andBJP," TMC candidate and senior party leader ChandrimaBhattacharya said.
According to district TMC leaders, the RSS and BJP for the past few months have been trying to incite communal passions and create awareness against the consumption of beef.
The recent spat in one of the schools in the district, where a headmaster was beaten up after he stopped a student from entering school in religious attire is an issue that bothBJP and TMC are trying to milk.
"Have you ever heard that in a primary or government school students come in their religious attire?The answer is no. But these things are happening in EastMidnapore and if you protest police will take action against you and lodge false cases against you. The people are fed up with this appeasement politics," BJP candidate Sourindra MohanJana told PTI.
The Congress and Left Front have, however, accused BJPand TMC of being "hand in glove" and playing the politics of polarisation in the state.
"The BJP and TMC are hands in glove. This is nothing but feeding each other with majority communalism and minority fundamentalism. They want to divide the votes along religious lines," WBPCC president Adhir Chowdhury said.
TMC appears to be in an advantageous position as the seat is considered the backyard of the East Midnaporestrongman and state Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari. His brother Dibyendu had won the seat in 2016 by a margin of28,000 votes.
The elections will see Left Front and Congress fighting on their own.
In the assembly elections in May last year, LF andCongress had fought unitedly against TMC but failed to make much impact as the ruling party won 211 seats and the alliance just 76.