Bengal bypoll: Trinamool wins by 64,172 votes
Kolkata: West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress on Sunday won the Sabang Assembly constituency by-poll by a massive margin of 64,192 votes.
Trinamool candidate Gita Rani Bhunia got 1,06,179 votes while her nearest rival, Rita Mondal of the Left Front major Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) secured 41,987 votes.
Trinamool's Secretary General Partha Chatterjee said: "This is a victory of development. People of Sabang voted for the development works undertaken by our government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The margin of nearly 65,000 votes disapproved centre's anti-people policies."
Amid continuous downslide popularity over the past few years, the by-poll offered an opportunity for the CPI-M, which contested the seat for the first time as the Left Front, during its 34 year rule, had fielded candidates of the Biplobi Bangla Congress.
Accusing the ruling Trinamool of indulging in massive rigging, Mondal said: "This is a victory of betrayers. Genuine voters were not allowed to cast their votes. About 150-200 polling booths were captured by Trinamool's activists."
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) aspirant Antara Bhattacharyya was in the third spot with 37,476 votes. However, the party gained a substantial number of votes in this bypoll as against about 5,000 votes secured by the party in 2016 Assembly elections.
Bhattacharya also said that it was not "a free and fair election". "Had common people been allowed to exercise their franchise, we would have got more favourable results. However, the results show that our party did well despite ruling party's terror activities," he claimed.
The Congress, which won the seat in last year's assembly polls, fared poorly, with its nominee Chiranjib Bhowmick in the fourth position securing 18,060 votes.
The by-poll was necessitated due to sitting Congress legislator Manas Bhunia's resignation, after he crossed over to the Trinamool. He is now a Rajya Sabha member of his new party.
Trinamool candidate Gita Rani is Manas Bhunia's wife.
The winning margin of Gita Rani in this by-poll surpassed Bhunia's victory margin of over 49,000 votes as a Left-backed Congress candidate in the 2016 Assembly polls.
Manas Bhunia said, "During the campaign, our leadership called the voters to defeat the Manas Bhunia's winning margin. People of Sabang did exactly the same. I am enjoying it."