Trinamool wins all four seats in the second round of byelections in West Bengal, wresting two seats away from the BJP

Published : November 02, 2021 21:17 IST

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Photo: PTI

The ruling Trinamool Congress of West Bengal continued its winning streak in the byelections in the State that took place on October 30, securing huge victories in all the four constituencies that went to the polls. Not only did it secure 75 per cent of the votes, it also wrested back two seats that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won in the Assembly elections earlier this year. The BJP could only manage to get 14.5 per cent of the votes. Trinamool had swept the earlier rounds of byelections too, winning all three seats, including Bhabanipur, which was contested by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself.

The Assembly seats of Khardah in North 24 Parganas and Gosaba in South 24 Parganas were easily retained by the Trinamool, with veteran party leader and State Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay winning Khardah by a margin of 93, 832 votes and Subrata Mondal winning the Gosaba seat by a whopping margin of 1,43,051 votes. However, the biggest victory margin was in Dinhata in Cooch Behar, where the Trinamool candidate Udayan Guha won by 1,64,089 votes. The Dinhata seat, and the Santipur constituency, which Trinamool won by 64,675 votes, were earlier won by the BJP.

In the Assembly elections held earlier this year, the BJP had fielded Lok Sabha MPs Nisith Pramanik and Jagannath Sarkar for Dinhata and Santipur respectively. Pramanik had just managed to scrape through by 57 votes against Udayan Guha. Subsequently, Pramanik and Sarkar did not take oath as legislators at the orders of the party leaders.

The byelection results have come as yet another setback for the saffron party, which has been on a downward slide since its humiliating defeat in the Assembly elections. A senior BJP politician told Frontline: “While it is true that the party that has come to power has an advantage over its opponents in the byelections, we were nevertheless hopeful that retaining Dinhata and Santipur would bolster the flagging confidence of our workers and help us revive politically.”

According to Biswanath Chakraborty, political observer and psephologist, the byelection results have proved that the BJP’s brand of politics has been wholly rejected in Bengal. Said Chakraborty: “It is a complete rejection of the BJP by the voters. Their kind of politics in the more liberal environment of Bengal, with its 30 per cent minority population, has not found any acceptance. The BJP’s leadership crisis has also deepened and its organisation, which was weak in the first place, has disintegrated further. At the same time, the hike in the cost of petrol, diesel and cooking gas has increased the negative feeling against Central government. While for Trinamool, its welfare schemes and new projects like Laxmi Bhandar are paying rich political dividends.” According to him, Trinamool’s present political dominance is even greater than the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front’s in its heydays during its 34 years in power in the State.

As the victory leads of the Trinamool candidates became insurmountable, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee posted on social media: “My heartiest congratulations to all the four winning candidates! This victory is people’s victory, as it shows how Bengal will always choose development and unity over propaganda and hate politics. With people’s blessings, we promise to continue taking Bengal to greater heights!”

After the two rounds of byelections, the Trinamool Congress’ strength in the Assembly has increased to 217 from 213. Moreover, five BJP MLAs had also defected to Trinamool following the Assembly elections.

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