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Bypolls: TMC, Congress, RJD win

Bypolls: TMC, Congress, RJD win

Kolkata/ Kolhapur: The Trinamool Congress made a clean sweep on Saturday winning both the Asansol Lok Sabha and the Ballygunge assembly seats in West Bengal while the Congress bagged a constituency each in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh and the RJD one in Bihar in the bypolls to these seats with the BJP drawing a blank.

All the winners in the assembly bypolls were from the respective ruling parties.

In West Bengal, all eyes were on new TMC recruits and former BJP members — movie actor-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha and Babul Supriyo.

Sinha drubbed BJP's Agnimitra Paul by 3,03,209 votes in Asansol. The BJP had won the seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls by 1.97 lakh votes when Supriyo who was then in the BJP beat TMC's Moon Moon Sen.

Supriyo, who was nominated by the TMC from the prestigious Ballygunge assembly constituency, defeated CPI(M)'s Saira Shah Halim by a margin of 20,228 votes. BJP's Keya Ghosh managed to bag just 13,220 votes.

The bypoll, which took place on April 12, was necessitated as state minister Subrata Mukherjee, who represented Ballygunge, died last year.

More than the Ballygunge assembly seat, the real frustration for the BJP has come from the results in the Asansol Lok Sabha constituency, from where the BJP candidate had won twice — in 2014 and 2019.

This time, Sinha won by a massive margin and created two records on behalf of his party.

He is not only the first-ever Trinamool Congress candidate to win from Asansol since the creation of this Lok Sabha constituency, his margin surpassed all past records from Asansol on this count.

The victory margin of Sinha is even more significant since in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the then BJP candidate, Babul Supriyo, won from Asansol by a margin of 1.97 lakh votes.

Political analysts believe that bagging a victory margin of over 3 lakh votes after covering up a past backlog of around 2 lakh votes is something quite rare.

The Asansol results show substantial improvement in Trinamool's vote share against a landslide vote share decline for the BJP.

In Asansol, the Trinamool improved its vote share to 56 per cent from 35.19 per cent in 2019. On the other hand, BJP's vote share declined to just 30 per cent this time from 51.16 per cent in 2019.

In a boost to the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) combine in Maharashtra, the Congress won the bypoll to the Kolhapur North assembly constituency, retaining the seat by defeating the BJP by a margin of over 18,000 votes.

Congress-MVA candidate Jayashri Jadhav bagged 96,176 votes, while BJP's Satyajeet Kadam polled 77,426 votes.

The by-election was necessitated because of the death of sitting Congress MLA Chandrakant Jadhav due to Covid in December 2021.

The ruling Congress in Chhattisgarh on Saturday won the bypoll to the Khairagarh assembly constituency in Rajnandgaon district with Yashoda Verma defeating her nearest rival Komal Janghel of the BJP by a margin of 20,176 votes.

Verma got 87,879 votes while Janghel secured 67,703 votes, he said.

By-election was held following the death of incumbent JCC (J) MLA and former MP Devvrat Singh in November 2021.

The opposition RJD in Bihar wrested the Bochahan assembly seat from the ruling NDA, with its candidate defeating the BJP nominee by a big margin of over 35,000 votes.

RJD candidate Amar Paswan, whose father Musafir Paswan's death had necessitated the by-election, polled 82,116 votes while his nearest BJP rival Baby Kumari got only 45,353.

Expelled state minister Mukesh Sahani's Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), on the ticket of which Musafir Paswan had won the seat in 2020, finished a distant third with 29,671 votes. VIP was an NDA constituent till about a month ago.

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee thanked voters of Asansol and Ballygunge for giving a decisive mandate to the TMC candidates.

"I sincerely thank the electors of the Asansol Parliamentary Constituency and the Ballygunge Assembly Constituency for giving decisive mandate to AITC party candidates," she tweeted.

"We consider this to be our people's warm Shubho Nababarsho gift to our Ma- Mati- Manush organization. Salute to the voters for reposing faith in us, yet again," she added.

In Asansol, 'Shotgun' Sinha said he was "grateful to Asansol's people and to Mamata Banerjee for this victory."

BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said it is a general trend that the party in power in the state generally wins the by-elections.

Newly-elected Jadhav thanked the voters of Kolhapur and said all three constituents of the MVA worked together to clinch victory.

Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole termed the party's win as "victory of progressive thoughts".

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