Kolkata: Jangipur is not a constituency identified only for an election experiment and it was selected as part of a long term plan of Welfare Party of India, said SQR Illyas, the president of the party. Illyas is carrying out a strong campaign in the constituency where Congress' Abhijit Mukherjee is fighting for a hat-trick victory.
Jangipur was not searched for and selected after deciding to contest in the election. The party had decided long ago to field its own candidate here as it has strong base in the constituency. In 2012 by- election, before Welfare Party having a party structure, the candidate in the constituency garnered 42,000 votes. Understanding the prospects in the constituency, the party has been working in the seven assembly constituencies for last few years.
Jangipur is a minority community dominant, backward district- where no development has happened so far. The people are socially and educationally weak. Still they were forced to work for different parties. The people meant nothing more than a vote bank for Congress, CPM and BJP and now, for TMC. Seven times they elected CPM candidates and another seven times they elected Congress candidates to parliament.
No professional institutions, medical or engineering institutes were established in the constituency. Beedi workers constitute seven lakh voters here. Even children and women are working as beedi workers. Their wages are from Rs. 200 to Rs. 300. The situation has not changed even after the government fixed the minimum wage of Rs. 297. The government is in cahoots with the beedi company owners. So, for Welfare Party, Jangipur is not a constituency for election alone, it is a model constituency adopted with long term plans, he added.
The activities will be continued even after the elections. Programmes are planned for upliftment of the people in educational, social and economic sectors. Micro finance, educational activities and welfare schemes for beedi workers are among the plans. A few of them are already ongoing.
The election is an attempt to empower the people politically. Abhijit Mukherjee of Congress party is the primary opponent. The constituency is one among Bengal's constituencies that witness the trend of Congress workers switching to Trinamool and CPM cadres shifting to BJP. BJP is gaining strength through anti-democratic measures implemented by TMC to check CPM and Congress. This is a part of a collusion between TMC and BJP, Illyas alleged.