New Delhi: Under the shadow of demonetization, the ruling Trinamool Congress on Tuesday swept the by-poll in West Bengal, winning two Lok Sabha and an Assembly seat with party supremo Mamata Banerjee dubbing it as “people’s revolt” against the Centre’s decision to scrap the high-denomination notes.
TMC candidate Dibyendu Adhikari won Tamluk Lok Sabha seat defeating his nearest CPI(M) rival Mandira Panda by 4.97 lakh votes, up from 2.5 lakh votes in 2014. The CPI(M) candidate’s votes has been reduced to 2.82 lakhs from 4.7 lakhs in 2014. BJP, on the other hand, secured 1.9 lakh votes, up from 86,000 votes the party got in the last Lok Sabha polls. TMC not only managed a resounding victory but also manged to win all the seven Assembly segments, including Haldia under Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency. The party had lost the Haldia seat in the Assembly poll earlier this year.
The party also won the Coochbehar Lok Sabha seat with its candidate Parthapratim Roy drubbing his nearest rival BJP’s Hemchandra Burman by a margin of 4.9 lakh votes. Roy increased the party’s victory margin from 38,000 in 2014 to 4.9 lakhs. Although BJP lost the by-poll, the party finished second in Coochbehar, securing 3.7 lakh votes compared to 2.1 lakh votes it had secured in 2014, thus pushing the candidate of Forward Bloc, a Left Front partner to the third position. The FB candidate managed to get just over 86,000 votes as against 4.8 lakh votes it bagged in 2014 Lok Sabha election.
TMC put up a creditable performance in Burdwan district, a former LF bastion as its nominee Saikat Panja won Monteswar Assembly seat by 1.27 lakh votes over his nearest CPI(M) rival Md Osman Gani Sarkar. TMC’S winning margin in the May 2016 Assembly polls was a mere 706 votes when Congress and CPI(M) fought unitedly. The BJP, Congress and CPI(M) candidates lost their deposits in Monteswar.
TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee termed the mandate for her party as “people’s revolt” against demonetization. “The by-election result is a befitting reply against the ‘anti-people’ demonetization by the Centre. BJP should take lessons from this mandate,” she told newsmen.
The by-poll results indicated that the Left Front and Congress are fast losing political space in the state and BJP is gaining ground as the party increased its vote share in both the Lok Sabha seats. Political observers say that with LF and Congress parting ways, the four-cornered contest helped the ruling TMC to register landslide victory.
In the last Assembly elections, CPI(M) and Congress fought together. Commenting on the by-poll result, BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh told PTI, “Despite TMC’s terror tactic, BJP increased its vote share”. The CPI(M) and Congress dubbed the by-poll as a “farce”.
“The by-elections were a complete farce and that is why we have withdrawn our candidate from Monteswar Assembly seat. The picture of terror being unleashed in two other Lok Sabha seats was clear on the day of polls,” state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said. “There was rampant rigging and malpractices on the day of polls,” a CPI(M) leader alleged.