Roy finds a different scene in Dum Dum
One of the Trinamool Congress heavyweights, Sougata Roy is perhaps the most low key person in the party, who is widely regarded as an astute Parliamentarian and an articulate orator of letters.
This veteran politician and former Minister of State for Urban Development has scored 6.45 on a scale of 10 in a recent survey conducted by CNN-IBN and ADR that rates the Parliamentarians' performance.
Mr Roy, who has been into electoral battle for more than four decades, is the party's think tank in Parliamentary affairs. The profundity of his knowledge about parliamentary norms makes him 'Google uncle' to the admiring young politicians.
A professor of physics by profession and a politician by choice, Mr Roy stands tall among his fellows, but a less talked about person in the circuit. But it was perhaps his erudite, suave image among the people that made Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to select Mr Roy as candidate for the prestigious Dum Dum seat in 2009, which he defends this time. However, unlike in 2009 when he rode a strong anti-incumbency wave, whipped up by Ms Banerjee, to vanquish, albeit by a slim margin, a relatively light weight CPI(M) candidate, Mr Roy finds in 2014 a perfect match in his nearest Left candidate, Asim Dasgupta of the CPI(M), a reputed economist and a finance minister in the previous Left Front Government for a prolonged period. Like Mr Roy, he is also erudite, gentle and has a clean image. While the 2009 wave seems to be no more at its peak with the party that was in the opposition three years ago being in power now, another factor that makes tough Mr Roy's task is the BJP's revivalist move that is evident all over the state. Dum Dum, despite being a red bastion once upon a time, was captured twice by the saffron party in the past, making it evident that there was a large number of voters in the constituency, who could renounce both the Left and the Trinamool Congress to swing the balance in favour of the BJP. Tapan Sikdar, the architect of BJP's victory in those hallowed days is once again the party's candidate from Dum Dum, making things complicated for Mr Roy. The fourth major candidate contesting from Dum Dum is Congress Dhananjoy Moitra.
In 2009, Roy faced a wobbling Left Front, a friendly Congress and a disorganised BJP. It will not be the same this time and Trinamool will have to brave a BJP much in order, a Left keen to secure its vote base and a Congress eating into Trinamool's share.
Many people may like to see Mr Roy as winner and the Trinamool Congress may not afford to miss him on the floor of Parliament, but what is in the mind of the voters will be known only on May 16.
(Posted on 09-05-2014)