Avijit Ghosal writes on economy, industry and politics from West Bengal. Has been doing so for more than 20 years.
Articles by Avijit Ghosal
It won’t be surprising if several TMC leaders pray for divine intervention after the arrest of an IPS officer in Narada sting case that claims to have taped several prominent politicians accepting wads of cash from a man posing as a representative of a firm.
Most political watchers believe that Trinamool Congress chief will pay the price for the disappearance of Kumar who has virtually vanished since the Calcutta high court lifted his protection from arrest on September 13.
Trinamool Congress is in a precarious position. The forces of anti-incumbency that it has generated mainly by corruption and high-handedness of its leaders and denial of democratic rights of a large section of the electorate in the 2018 panchayat elections have cost it dear in the general elections.
Opinion | While Mamata was busy with her party’s grip on Durga puja, the saffron camp made inroads with Ram Navami, Janmashtami and Hanuman Jayanti
The BJP has not only gained ground in West Bengal – a state where it always remained in the fringes – but also achieved a degree of penetration and polarisation that has encouraged them to claim they will win the assembly elections in 2021 or even if they are held earlier.
In November 2018, Mamata Banerjee nominated Hakim to contest for the mayor’s chair. Hakim went on to become the first Muslim mayor of Kolkata since Independence.
As Bengal’s ruling party is passing through the opening sequences of the ‘Didike Bolo’ and ‘Gramey Cholo’ campaigns to reestablish contact with the masses, this anecdote reflects the challenges Prashant Kishor, the poll strategist roped in to embellish Mamata Banerjee’s image and make her battle-ready before the 2021 Assembly elections, is facing.
It’s the biggest public relation exercise since Mamata Banerjee swept the 34-year-old and seemingly invincible Left Front regime out of power in Bengal in May 2011.
Mamata Banerjee’s party swept the subsequent assembly elections in 2011, winning 184 seats in the 294-member assembly and drawing curtains on the 34-year rule of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
N Chandrababu Naidu has already met Congress president Rahul Gandhi twice, once with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, as well as other leaders including Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav, BSP’s Mayawati and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar.
Updated on May 20, 2019 07:58 PM IST
Hindustan Times, Kolkata/Amaravati | ByAvijit Ghosal & Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
So far the 10 constituencies where the people have voted in the first three phases were located mainly in north Bengal, where the emerging force of Bharatiya Janata Party is hoping to do better than in the southern parts of the state.
In phase 3, Bengal’s ruling party has to overcome history. Trinamool has never won any Lok Sabha seat in Malda and Murshidabad districts, traditionally known as the Congress belt.
A fluent speaker, Abhishek Banerjee has imbibed her aunt’s aggression and confidence but as he made his political debut when Mamata Banerjee was in power, he lacks the baptism by fire like his aunt, who survived decades of Left aggression in West Bengal.
Over the past two Lok Sabha and two assembly elections in Bengal, the vote share of the BJP has remained at a level that is way behind that of the ruling TMC.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi to address a rally in West Bengal on Saturday to launch party’s campaign in the state. This is his first rally in Bengal since April 2016.
Facing a tough triangular fight against BJP and the Left-Congress combine, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has made sweeping changes to her Trinamool Congress’s candidates lineup in the upcoming general elections.
Updated on Mar 12, 2019 11:24 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Kolkata | BySaubhadra Chatterji and Avijit Ghosal
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is one of the principal proponents of a front of regional parties that are opposed to the Bharatiya Janata Party and organised the first unity show in Kolkata on January 19, which she announced as far back as July 21, 2018.
It was a difficult process that Mamata Banerjee launched on the evening of February 3, a couple of hours after a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team went to the official residence of Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar.
Mamata Banerjee said the court order was a victory of democracy. “We are not against officers of any investigative agency. They are also our brothers and sisters. But they should not be used politically.”
It was as the commissioner of Bidhannagar police and the SIT chief probing the Saradha scam that involved deposits of Rs 2,460 crore (as later quantified by the Enforcement Directorate) that Rajeev Kumar has come under the CBI’s scanner.
In her midnight speech, Mamata Banerjee warned that the BJP may plan President’s rule in West Bengal.
Updated on Feb 04, 2019 01:32 AM IST
Hindustan Times, Kolkata | ByAvijit Ghosal and Tanmay Chatterjee
Mamata Banerjee accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah of plotting a ‘coup’ in Bengal.
Highlights| ‘Didi, why fear if you haven’t done anything wrong’, says PM Modi in Bengal’s Durgapur rally
Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned in West Bengal on Saturday for the coming Lok Sabha election with rallies in the border district of North 24 Parganas and the industrial town of Durgapur.The Durgapur rally of the prime minister will be part of BJP’s ‘Ganatantra Bachao’ (save democracry) programme in the state.The rallies are being held at a time when the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal has upped the ante against the BJP-headed government at the Centre and has given the call to oust the Modi government in the next General Election.West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said apart from Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and many other top leaders will attend several ‘Ganatantra Bachao’ rallies across the state.Follow highlights here:
The corruption issue still remains the soft spot.
Updated on Feb 02, 2019 07:57 AM IST
Hindustan Times, Kolkata | ByAvijit Ghosal and Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Amit Shah in West Bengal highlights: ‘Mamata di, you can’t remove Modi by gathering 23-25 leaders’ says BJP chief in Malda rally
BJP president Amit Shah today kicked off the party’s campaign in West Bengal for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with a rally in Malda. The event comes days after chief minister Mamata Banerjee hosted a mega opposition gathering in Kolkata.The rallies came after the Mamata Banerjee government refused permission for BJP’s “rath yatra”, citing law and order concerns. The party had contested the denial of permission in the courts and fought it up to the Supreme Court, but failed to get any relief. The apex court had, however, allowed the BJP to hold public meetings. Bengal is crucial in the BJP’s plan for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the party has set itself a target of 22 seats in the state. The party which currently holds two seats in the state, has been bolstered with a number of senior Trinamool Congress leaders joining it.Shah’s rally in Malda, where he will address party workers in north Bengal, comes a day after a row between the BJP and the state government over a landing spot for his helicopter.:
Clad in her customary white sari and chappals, the Trinamool Congress chief was the 23rd and the last speaker at the rally, and lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Modi in her own style .
On Saturday, the Trinamool Congress chief is going to have a third feather in her cap. On the dais of the United India Rally that she has convened in Kolkata, as many as two dozen leaders of anti-Bharatiya Janata Party outfits will be present.
TMC’s mega rally is underway at the historic Brigade Parade ground in Kolkata, that would virtually kick-start the opposition’s campaign ahead of the coming general election. Convened by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who is aiming to project herself as the face of the opposition, the rally at noon is being attended by the who’s who of Indian politics -- a former prime minister, several current and former chief ministers and stalwarts from various political outfits from across the country.Also Read | ‘Country waiting for new prime minister’: Akhilesh Yadav before mega Opposition rally in KolkataMore than 20 national leaders, including former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha and Arun Shourie; three present chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal, Chandrababu Naidu and H D Kumaraswamy; and former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Akhilesh Yadav and Gegong Apang attended the meeting.Also Watch | If speaking truth is rebellion then I am a rebel, says Shatrughan SinhaWhile Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi have given the rally a miss, they have deputed senior party functionary and leader of the party in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.Here are the HIGHLIGHTS:
The ruling party won the bypolls at Lok Sabha, Assembly and Kolkata Municipal Corporation with more than 50% votes, which means the candidate could have won against a combined opposition.
Updated on Jan 09, 2019 07:32 PM IST
Hindustan Times, Kolkata | ByAvijit Ghosal and Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Under the initiative, the Farmers will get Rs10,000 a year for purchasing seeds, fertilizer and insecticides, life and accident insurance for a small premium and an interest-free crop loan of ₹50,000, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief announced.
Published on Dec 31, 2018 10:50 PM IST
Hindustan Times, Kolkata / Bhubaneshwar | ByAvijit Ghosal and Debabrata Mohanty
The momentum that the saffron camp built around the proposed yatra appears to be fizzling out