Bypoll: TMC wins by-polls in WB, Mamata calls it a “miracle”
Kolkata: In a major boost for Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, facing the heat of Saradha scam, today swept crucial Bongoan Lok Sabha and an assembly bypolls reasserting its political supremacy in West Bengal where BJP is trying to make inroads.
TMC not only retained Bongaon Lok Sabha and Krishnaganj assembly seats but also substantially increased its victory margins.
The Bongaon LS seat is a predominatly rural consitutency located in North 24 paraganas district bordering Bangladesh, while Krishnaganj is a semi-urban constituency in Nadia district.
Following today’s victory, the number of TMC MPs in Lok Sabha remained unchanged at 34.
Banerjee, who was speaking to the media in Purulia district, termed the results as “a miracle” which proves that her party has not been impacted by either the Saradha scam – or reports of internal dissent within it.
“This is a miracle result. People’s magic… They have bowled all the controversies out,” Banerjee said.
TMC is “intact and strong”, she said and attacked BJP by adding the results were “People’s rejection of the conspiracy by Delhi and a slanderous campaign by BJP and a section of the media”.
In a veiled message to TMC leaders who are speculated to leave the party, Banerjee said “it (TMC) is number one strong party in the world. No one can divide TMC and if any individual (airs his opinion), he or she has the prerogative. But the party remains strong and united and this is our collective family.
“With the victory of Mamatabala Thakur the percentage of elected women members (of TMC) in Parliament has increased to 35.2 per cent … which is two per cent more than the reservation demanded for women,” Banerjee, West Bengal chief minister, said soon after the victory.
The result showed that TMC’s lead has increased substantially in both Bongaon and Krishnaganj.
While TMC candidate Mamatabala Thakur won the polls in Bongaon by a margin of 2.11 lakh votes, a record since the constituency was created in 2009, Satyajit Biswas, the ruling party candidate from Krishnaganj, won by a margin of about 37,000 votes.
Mamata Bala Thakur’s husband Kapil Krishna Thakur, whose death necessiated the by-election, had won the seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll by a margin of 1,46,000 votes.
The support for Left Front, however, seemed to be waning though CPI(M)’s Debesh Das secured the second position in Bongaon ahead of BJP candidate Subrata Thakur.
In Krishnaganj assembly seat, BJP’s Manebendra Roy was TMC’s nearest rival and the party’s vote share showed an increase.
In the wake of the arrest of several TMC leaders and state minister Madan Mitra by CBI in connection with the Saradha chitfund scam, the victory in both the seats is a shot in the arm for Banerjee who had in recent months accused BJP of trying to politically use the investigating agency to corner her party in West Bengal.
The TMC leadership will be hoping that the result will also send a message to the party rank and file in the state where there were several instances of dissidence in the recent past.
For the first time since its victory in 2011, TMC had gone to the polls this time without the active participation of its general secretary Mukul Roy who was recently left in the cold in an organisational reshuffle.
Commenting on the results, Roy said before leaving for Delhi “It was on expected lines”.
The defeat of BJP in both seats came as a jolt to its prospects in Bengal where it has been aiming to increase its base after its win in the last Lok Sabha polls and in Basirhat South assembly seat in the state in a bypoll last year.
The party, being relegated to the third position, comes as a disappointment for BJP top brass which had pinned high hopes on Bongaon seat.
The opposition Left Front, which has been the biggest casualty in these polls, has not only ceded much of its political ground but lost its opposition space to BJP in Krishnaganj.
In Bongaon LS seat, although CPI(M) was able to maintain its number two position in a neck and neck fight with BJP, its vote share dwindled significantly from 4,04,612 votes to 3,28,196.
Congress failed to make any impact in the by-polls and was virtually reduced to a non-entity securing only 29,000 votes in Bongaon and 4,500 votes in Krishnaganj.