Barrackpore: A new turf and a formidable opponent are among the odds stacked against CPI-M leader and firebrand trade unionist Subhashini Ali as she eyes a second Lok Sabha term, more than two-and-a-half decades after her last victory.
But Ali, who hails from Kanpur and represented that seat in 1989, is confident of her win here and believes that her party will also regain its strength in West Bengal. Former Union minister Dinesh Trivedi of Trinamool Congress is the sitting MP and has been re-nominated by the party.
"We are certainly going to do much better this time," she told PTI.
Samrat Topadar of Congress and BJP`s R K Handa, a retired IPS officer are among those in the fray.
Ali, a staunch supporter of women`s rights, started her campaign here on Women`s Day (March 8) and since then is leaving no stone unturned to woo voters. She has regularly visited slums and labour settlement areas and held a number of rallies and roadshows.
Ali, daughter of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose`s close aides and Indian National Army members Colonel Prem Saigal and Captain Lakshmi Saigal, rejects the `outsider` tag saying, "I think using the word outsider is wrong and dangerous.
"I was active in Kanpur and Uttar Pradesh till March 7. After that, I left for West Bengal because the state party decided to field me from Barrackpore."
The former president of All India Democratic Women`s Association also rubbished opinion polls showing Trinamool Congress improving its tally and claimed, "Opinion polls will be proved wrong. Newspapers in West Bengal are already reporting that the Left is fighting back."
CPI-M has won this seat, which goes to polls on May 12, nine times since 1951. Barrackpore has 18-20 per cent Hindi- speaking settlers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Muslims have 7-8 per cent vote share in this constituency.
The 66-year-old Ali, wife of well-known filmmaker Muzaffar Ali, has long experience of working in the industrial belt of Kanpur and therefore is also eyeing the votes of the labourers in the jute mill belt here.
Asked about extending support to Congress or any other alliance to prevent BJP from forming the next government at the Centre, she said, "Let`s not indulge in astrology."