Trinamool Congress candidate Chandrima Bhattacharya on Thursday won the by-poll from the Kanthi Dakshin Assembly constituency defeating her nearest BJP rival Sourindra Mohan Jana by 42,526 votes.
Bhattacharya got 8,000 votes more than party candidate Dibyendu Adhikari who had defeated Uttam Pradhan of CPI by 34,000 votes in the 2016 Assembly election. This seat fell vacant after Suvendu Adhikari resigned and contested from Nandigram Assembly seat in 2016. Suvendu is now the state transport minister.
Chandrima Bhattacharya who was the law minister in Mamata Banerjee's cabinet between 2011-16 lost to Tanmay Bhattacharya in Dum Dum North Assembly seat. Banerjee was upset over Bhattacharya's defeat which took place mainly because of infighting and assured her that she would be rehabilitated. Bhattacharya is now the president of Trinamool Mahila Congress.
The Left and Congress candidates were relegated to the third and fourth positions respectively.
Bhattacharya secured 95,369 votes while the BJP candidate bagged 52,843 votes compared to 15,000 votes polled by the party candidate in last year's Assembly election.
Left Front-supported CPI candidate Uttam Pradhan secured 17,423 votes, which is only 10 per cent of the total votes polled.
In 2016, when the Left Front had fought Assembly elections in alliance with the Congress, it had secured 34.73 per cent votes.
Congress candidate Naba Kumar Nanda managed to get only 2,270 votes, which is just 1.3 per cent of the total votes polled.
The TMC has increased its vote share by two per cent compared to the 2016 Assembly polls when its candidate had secured 93,359 votes.
BJP emerged as the main challenger of the TMC.
Expressing happiness over her party's performance, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, "This is the win of Maa- Mati-Manush".
Accusing the BJP and the CPI-M of having an 'understanding', Banerjee said, "I have earlier stated that the BJP and the CPI-M are working hand-in-glove. Sometimes they transfer votes to each other. We do not do that. The CPI-M does it and even at times the Congress and the BJP do it as well".
On the BJP's finishing second, she said, "Who is in the second or third position is not my concern. The people once again extending support to us shows that they liked our work. So we have to continue our work in a more vigorous way."
TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said, "The result has shown that the politics of vendetta and communal polarisation by the BJP and the RSS have been rejected by the people of this state".
On BJP's improved performance, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said: "The results show that the BJP is the only party after the TMC whose vote share has increased."
The biggest losers in the by-election were the Left and the Congress whose candidates have lost their deposits. The Left Front and Congress, however, dubbed the defeat as the result of ongoing communal polarisation in the state.