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EtG Opinion Poll: Will BJP Emerge Victorious in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri District?

With legislative assembly elections underway, the nation is curious to see who wins the crown to West Bengal. To put some perceptive on the matter, a couple of pollsters from EtG Research conducted a district wide opinion poll. After tallying the results of this opinion poll, we gather that, out of the 7 assembly constituencies, AITC might win 3, while the BJP might win 4.

Jalpaiguri is a district in West Bengal, which is situated in North Bengal. The district has international borders with Bhutan and Bangladesh in the north and south respectively and district borders with Darjeeling hills in the west and northwest, also, Alipurduar district and Cooch Behar district on the east. Malbazar and Nagrakata constituencies are reserved for Scheduled Tribes candidates. Dhupguri, Mainaguri, Jalpaiguri and Rajganj constituencies are reserved for Scheduled Castes candidates. Along with one assembly constituency from Cooch Behar district, Dhupguri, Mainaguri, Jalpaiguri, Rajganj, Dabgram-Phulbari, and Malbazar constituencies form the Jalpaiguri Lok Sabha constituency, which is reserved for Scheduled Castes. Nagrakata is part of the Alipurduar Lok Sabha constituency.

LOCAL ISSUES- There is a lack of infrastructural facilities like housing, ill maintenance of roads, hospitals and in some areas, there is a inadequacy of proper water facilities. There is significant dissatisfaction among the tea garden workers in this area as they have not been receiving payment in accordance with the Minimum Wage Act. There is a major lack in representation, especially for the scheduled tribe communities. There are complaints that administrative posts are still dominated by the upper-class communities. There is a lack of higher secondary public schools. Some loopholes in the implementation of the schemes in the local area. There have been instances of political violence in the Jalpaiguri AC.

[Also Read: EtG Opinion Poll in West Bengal Alipurduar Dist]

A comparison of the 2016 and 2019 elections- 6 ACs were won by AITC while INC won Jalpaiguri AC. In the 2019 LS election, AITC’s miserable performance was due to left voters shifting towards BJP, the Modi wave, AITC’s “internal tussle” and the rigged Panchayat election of 2018 orchestrated by AITC which the people of North Bengal had never witnessed in the past. In 2016, the lowest vote share of AITC was in Nagrakata and the highest was in Maynaguri. While in 2019, the lowest was in Dabgram-Fulbari while Maynaguri again had the highest vote share (44%), which was also the lowest vote share percentage which BJP received from Rajganj. The highest vote share of BJP was in Dabgram-Fulbari, which also saw the highest margin between the two parties. A narrow margin was seen in just two ACs, specifically Dhupguri and Rajganj.

AITC- The AITC failed to open its account during the 2019 elections in North Bengal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had addressed three major rallies in Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar on December 14, 15 and 16 respectively in North Bengal. It was at the end of September when the Chief Minister had visited North Bengal where she held an administrative review meeting of Cooch Behar, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts at Uttar Kanya (Branch Secretariat, Govt. Of West Bengal, at Siligur). She had also launched the Pathasrhee Abhijan scheme to reconstruct a 16,000 km road located at Phulbari, Jalpaiguri. Several other AITC leaders and MLAs have publicly voiced their criticism of Kishor and his political consulting firm I-PAC. Some of the leaders include Bubai Kar, who is the joint secretary of AITC’s Jalpaiguri district in North Bengal. The surprise element among those joining the BJP was an MLA from Nagrakata in Jalpaiguri district of north Bengal. Sukra Munda has been actively participating in the party’s activities and praising chief minister Mamata Banerjee. He even attended Mamata’s meeting with the leadership of the Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri districts on December 14. He was appointed as vice-president of the Jalpaiguri district unit a few months ago. The factors working for AITC will be the recent initiatives and welfare schemes (SC/ST certificates, Kanyashree, Duare Sarkar, etc) undertaken by the state government along with the mass wedding conducted in Falakata which might save the Chief minister from losing out more than 3-4 seats in the upcoming election.

BJP- In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP emerged as a major challenger to the AITC by winning seven (Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Raiganj, Balurghat, North Malda) of the north Bengal region’s eight seats and Congress had won one (Malda South). Jalpaiguri MP Jayanta Roy had a strong Rajbanshi mass base whereas John Barla from Alipurduar enjoyed tribal support in the region. In the 2019 Parliamentary polls, Jayanta Roy won with a huge margin of over 214475 votes (Jalpaiguri PC) while BJP had a lead of 37020 votes from Nagrakata AC (Alipurduar PC). But after BJP won in Lok Sabha in 2019, they did not do much for the communities and the proposition to implement the CAA and NRC together has put the Rajbanshi votes at stake. The inactiveness of the local leaders might cause hindrance, but the local media has been instrumental in showcasing the achievements of the Central government which has left a mark on the minds of the voters.

[Also Read: EtG Opinion Poll in West Bengal Howrah Dist]

Mahajot- Days after the Centre and the West Bengal government announced financial packages for tea garden workers in their respective budgets, political parties in Bengal, Darjeeling and adjoining districts have turned this into a major issue ahead of the assembly polls. The north Bengal region has 54 assembly seats. Of these, tea garden workers and their families comprise a sizable section of voters, in around 15 seats. They are in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts. The tea gardens have always witnessed trade union movement over the demands of the workers. The Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), still have an influence on these workers. Many of the workers are tribal people and Gorkhas. Though Mahajot would fail to make significant electoral visibility, their influence over the masses in few areas would benefit them. The conundrum- In some of the gram panchayats areas, there are also sizable numbers of the Gorkha population. This population consists mostly of upper-caste Gorkhas like Chhetri and Sharma, a few from OBC categories like Gurung, Rai and Scheduled Caste categories like Lohar, Biswakarma and Kami. The support for AITC among the Gorkhas will be a deciding factor because of the arrival of the GJM leader, Bimal Gurung who has formed an alliance with the AITC. But in Dabgram -Fulbari, it will backfire as people oppose his arrival due to his background. The Trinamool Congress leadership in north Bengal has launched an initiative to woo Rajbanshi. The Chief minister has proposed that around 200 Rajbanshi language schools will be given “government recognition”. The Chief minister additionally assured that the CAA and NRC laws which the BJP is going to roll out as in all refugee colonies in the state had to be rejected since the citizens were already recognised by the state government as legal. That is why both Rajbanshi and Muslims are in favour of AITC, but might flip, if BJP eradicates the plans on implementing NRC and CAA.

[Also Read: EtG Opinion Poll in West Bengal Nadia Dist]

SL.NO Caste Inclination District
1. SC (Rajbanshi, Namasudhra, Tapasili, Roy, Ray, Sarkar)
  • Strongly inclined towards BJP in Mal, Rajganj.
  • Strongly inclined towards AITC in Dhupguri.
  • Split between AITC and BJP in Nagrakata, DabgramFulbari, Jalpaiguri.
  • Split between BJP and AITC, but more towards AITC Maynaguri.
Majority in Maynaguri, Jalpaiguri, Rajganj, Dabgram-Fulbari and presence across the district
2. ST (Oraon, Munda, Kheria, Mahali)
  • Strongly inclined towards BJP in Jalpaiguri, Rajganj.
  • Strongly inclined towards AITC in Dhupguri, Maynaguri.
  • Majority of them are supporting AITC with few inclinations towards BJP and Mahajot in Mal.
  • Split between AITC and BJP in Nagrakata.
Majority in Nagrakata, Mal, Dhupguri and presence across the district.
3. GENERAL CASTE
(Kayastha, Mahishya)
  • Strongly inclined towards BJP in Rajganj, Nagrakata.
  • Strongly inclined towards AITC in Mal.
  • Strongly inclined towards the Mahajot in Jalpaiguri.
  • Split between BJP and AITC in Maynaguri.
  • Maximum inclined towards BJP and some of them are CPM in Dabgram-Fulguri.
Presence across the district
4. MUSLIM
  • Split between AITC and CPM in Jalpaiguri, DabgramFulbari.
  • Strongly inclined towards AITC in Maynaguri, Rajganj, Mal, Nagrata.
Presence across the district
5. GORKHA (Nepali)
  • Inclined towards AITC
Presence in Dhupguri
6. Others Religious groups (5-8%) (Christians, Addi Bassi, Boro, Saranath, Bidin, Sant, etc)
  • Split between BJP and AITC.
Presence in Rajganj.

Jalpaiguri constituency reserved for SC Condidate. Total Voters 2,41,740, Male Voters 1,22,822, and Female Voters 1,18,914

Party Votes Polled Vote % Candidate Name
INC 94,553 45.41% Sukhbilas Barma (win by 5,157)
AITC 89,396 42.93% Dharttimohan Roy
BJP 16,029 7.7% Tapan Roy
NOTA 3,383 1.62% None Of The Above
SUCI 2,586 1.24% Haribhakta Sardar

Madarihat constituency reserved for ST Condidate. Total Voters 1,91,686, Male Voters 96,251, and Female Voters 95,431

Party Votes Polled Vote % Candidate Name
BJP 66,989 43.98% Manoj Tigga (win by 22,038)
AITC 44,951 29.51% Padam Lama
RSP 29,885 19.62% Kumari Kujur
NOTA 5,068 3.33% None Of The Above
JMM 3,089 2.03% Padam Oraon

Dhupguri constituency reserved for SC Condidate. Total Voters 2,37,427, Male Voters 1,22,444, and Female Voters 1,14,983

Party Votes Polled Vote % Candidate Name
AITC 90,781 43.49% Mitali Roy (win by 19,264)
CPM 71,517 34.26% Mamata Roy
BJP 36,167 17.33% Agun Roy
NOTA 3,262 1.56% None Of The Above
KPPU 2,644 1.27% Madhusudan Roy

Manyaguri constituency reserved for SC Condidate. Total Voters 2,36,663, Male Voters 1,23,117, and Female Voters 1,13,545

Party Votes Polled Vote % Candidate Name
AITC 1,00,837 47.85% Ananta Deb Adhikari (win by 34,907)
RSP 65,930 31.29% Chhaya Dey Roy
BJP 30,742 14.59% Biswajit Roy
NOTA 4,368 2.07% None Of The Above
KPPU 3,856 1.83% Kausik Roy

Rajganj constituency reserved for SC Condidate. Total Voters 2,16,425, Male Voters 1,12,095, and Female Voters 1,04,329

Party Votes Polled Vote % Candidate Name
AITC 89,785 46.15% Khageswar Roy (win by 14,677)
CPM 75,108 38.61% Satyendra Nath Mondal
BJP 17,811 9.16% Prakash Chandra Roy
NOTA 3,525 1.81% None Of The Above
KPPU 3,471 1.78% Hriday Roy

Dabgram Fulbari constituency reserved for Unreserved Condidate. Total Voters 2,60,690, Male Voters 1,34,944, and Female Voters 1,25,742

Party Votes Polled Vote % Candidate Name
AITC 1,05,769 47.49% Khageswar Roy (win by 23,811)
CPM 81,958 36.8% Dilip Singh
BJP 26,195 11.76% Rathindra Bose Rathin
NOTA 3,283 1.47% None Of The Above
IND 2,180 0.98% Subhas Biswas

Mal constituency reserved for ST Condidate. Total Voters 2,27,471, Male Voters 1,16,014, and Female Voters 1,11,457

Party Votes Polled Vote % Candidate Name
AITC 84,877 44.28% Bulu Chik Baraik (win by 18,462)
CPM 66,415 34.65% Augustus Kerketta
BJP 29,380 15.33% Mahesh Bage
NOTA 4,273 2.23% None Of The Above
BSP 4,168 2.17% Anjali Malo

Nagrakata constituency reserved for SC Condidate. Total Voters 2,13,862, Male Voters 1,05,918, and Female Voters 1,07,943

Party Votes Polled Vote % Candidate Name
AITC 57,306 32.46% Sukra Munda (win by 3,228)
INC 54,078 30.63% Joseph Munda
BJP 47,836 27.1% John Barla
NOTA 6,196 3.51% None Of The Above
ABGL 3,855 2.18% Ganesh Lama