Trinamool wins all three seats in Bengal by-polls (Third lead)
Kolkata, Nov 22 (IANS) West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress on Tuesday decimated the opposition to retain with thumping margins all three seats – two Lok Sabha and one assembly – where bypolls were held on November 19.
The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool won the Cooch Behar and Tamluk Lok Sabha seats in Cooch Behar and East Midnapore districts respectively, and also scored a huge victory in the Monteswar assembly constituency of Burdwan district.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as a surprise package by moving up to the second place in Cooch Behar and considerably increasing its vote tally in the other two constituencies.
Trinamool nominee Partha Pratim Roy trounced his nearest rival, BJP’s Hem Chandra Burman, by over 4 lakh votes in Cooch Behar. Left Front constituent All India Forward Bloc candidate Nripendranath Roy finished a poor third, forfeiting his security deposit in the process.
In Tamluk, Trinamool’s Dibyendu Adhikari trounced his nearest rival Mandira Panda of the Communist Party of India-Marxist by over 4.97 lakh votes.
Panda bagged around 2.82 lakh votes while BJP’s Ambuj Mohanti got over 1.96 lakh votes.
The Trinamool secured a massive victory in Monteshwar assembly seat with its candidate Saikat Panja humbling his nearest rival, CPI-M’s M. Osman Goni, by 1.27 lakh plus votes. Goni and all other vanquished candidates forfeited their security deposit.
The result astounded pollsters as the Trinamool had won the seat by a razor thin margin of 706 votes over the CPI-M in the assembly elections held earlier this year.
The Left Front and the Congress had then been allies.
BJP candidate Biswajit Poddar finished third after a neck-and-neck race with the CPI-M for the second position.
The Congress came up with a pathetic show, with its candidates forfeiting deposits in all the three seats.
An elated Banerjee described her party’s landslide victory as “people’s revolt” against the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes and urged all political parties to start a wave of protests against the “financial emergency”.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh noted his party has increased its vote share in all the three constituencies. “In contrast, the opposition CPI-M, Congress and All India Forward Bloc have been wiped out. The Chief Minister had been saying that the BJP is her principal rival in the state. We have proved that through our performance.
“Our vote share has gone up two and a half times in Cooch Behar and three times in Tamluk,” he said.
The Left Front termed the by-election “a farce” and accused the ruling party of booth capturing and voter intimidation on polling day.
“The by-elections in the three constituencies have been turned into a big farce by the ruling party. Hundreds of polling booths were captured and fake votes were given in tandem by the Trinamool cadres on the polling day. The significant result in favour of the ruling party in all three seats proves the same,” West Bengal Left Front Committee stated in a press release.
In an indirect allusion to the rise of the BJP, the LF called on all Left and secular groups to join hands and fight the ‘communal’ forces.
“The democratic environment in the state is under threat and communal power is on the rise. The leftist organisations and secular powers would have to come together to fight the communal uprising in the state,” they said.
The Cooch Behar seat fell vacant after the death of Trinamool’s Renuka Sinha while Tamluk went to the hustings as incumbent MP Suvendu Adhikari became a minister in the state government.
Trinamool lawmaker Sajal Panja’s death caused the Monteshwar assembly by-poll.