TMC sweeps Bengal bypolls 4/4
Kolkata: On Tuesday, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) scripted history as the ruling party dumped its rivals by record margins to romp home to a 4-0 clean sweep in the bypolls held on October 30. Moreover, BJP lost its poll deposits in three out of four seats where by-elections had been held.
TMC also retained the Khardah and Gosaba Assembly seats in North and South 24-Parganas districts respectively by impressive margins. Trinamool, in total, bagged about 75.02 per cent of the votes cast whereas the BJP got some 14.48 per cent votes in the four Assembly segments.
In Dinhata, which had been won by BJP's Minister of State for Home Nisith Pramanik in the Assembly elections held earlier this year by a slender margin of 57 votes, the margin of victory for TMC crossed a record landmark of over 1.64 lakh votes. In Dinhata, TMC's Udayan Guha won over his nearest rival BJP's Ashok Mandal by a massive margin of 1,64,089 votes, the highest ever since 1952 when the first elections were held.
Asked what was the magic behind this win within six months when he had lost by 57 votes, Guha said: "In the past six months, we have worked for the people. They slowly realised what mistake they had made by voting for the BJP candidate. Also, there was resentment among people that the BJP candidate left the area to become a Union Minister of State."
He added that in the past six months, TMC workers and leaders built intense contacts with people listening to their grievances. He maintained: "Just like Swasthya Sathi, which is meant for women empowerment, women kept faith in Didi because of the Lakshmir Bhandar scheme."
Born in a politically conscious family, Udayan's father Kamal Guha was an undisputed Forward Bloc leader and the then state Agriculture minister in the Left regime. Udayan had won the 2011 Assembly election on a Forward Bloc ticket. He then joined TMC in 2015 and won in the 2016 elections.
TMC's victory in Dinhata in North Bengal is significant given the controversial demand of the creation of a Union Territory comprising all the districts of the region by BJP's Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs John Barla.
Except for Santipur, BJP and the Left Front candidates lost their deposits in all the other three Assembly seats where bypolls were held. With this victory, the ruling TMC increased the number of MLAs in the state Assembly to 217 with five more having jumped ship from the BJP.
The by-election became necessary after TMC candidates from Khardah and Gosaba Assembly seats Kajal Sinha and Jayanta Naskar died and BJP candidates Nisith Pramanik and Jayanta Sarkar who had been elected from Dinhata and Santipur seats did not take the oath.
In 2001, CPI(M) candidate Nandarani Dol was elected from Keshpur by 1.08 lakh votes. Trinamool candidate Abdul Gani from Sujapur in Malda broke her record and won by 1.30 lakh votes in the 2021 Assembly election. After winning, Guha said: "TMC workers have toiled very hard to ensure that I win by a record margin, which will be difficult to break. I thank the people of Dinhata for keeping their faith in me."
Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, the state Agriculture minister, has won from the Khardah seat by 93,832 votes. Chattopadhyay, who was elected from the Bhowanipur Assembly seat, resigned and contested in the by-elections from Khardah. Chattopadhyay said: "I dedicate this victory to the people of this area who have kept faith in me. People have supported the pro-people schemes taken up by Mamata Banerjee and rejected the divisive communal politics of BJP."
It is interesting to note that the Khardah seat has always presented a minister to the state Cabinet. In the Left Front regime, Asim Dasgupta, the then Finance minister, was elected from Khardah. Amit Mitra defeated him in 2011 and became the Finance minister and on Monday, the seat has given a state Agriculture minister.
Subrata Mondol won the Gosaba seat in South 24-Parganas by 1,43,813 votes. Mondol said: "All the MLAs in South 24-Parganas had campaigned hard and people have supported the pro-people's schemes of Mamata Banerjee. They have realised that in the next five years, only TMC can make an all-round development in the state."
Trinamool nominee Brojokishore Goswami won the Santipur seat in his debut attempt by 63,892 votes. After winning, he said: "Didi had asked me whenever you meet a person, try to serve him or her. I will try to carry out the development in Santipur." This is for the first time when Trinamool Congress has got the seat. In 2011, 2016 and 2021 elections, the party had lost to the opposition.
After the results were announced, Sukanta Mazumdar, the state BJP president, said: "People know how the election had been held in the most undemocratic manner. People had been asked not to go to the polling stations and TMC resorted to false voting."
Reacting sharply to this, Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, the TMC Rajya Sabha member, said: "If they have so many grievances they should have gone to the ECI. Two BJP leaders had conspired with the BSF a couple of days before the by-election in Dinhata. People have foiled their nasty game."
Kunal Ghosh, the state general secretary of TMC, said: "People have voted for Mamata Banerjee. People are fed up with the anti-people policy of the BJP. The rise in prices of fuel, cooking gas has affected them and the election result reflects their rejection of BJP."