The ruling Trinamool Congress on Tuesday worsted its rivals by record margins, to romp home to a 4-0 clean sweep in by-elections held on October 30.
The TMC wrested the Dinhata and Santipur seats in Coochbehar and Nadia districts respectively from the BJP by huge margins, to raise its tally to 215 in the 294-member West Bengal assembly.
The BJP, whose predecessor Jan Sangh was founded by Bengal’s Hindu Mahasabha leader Syama Prasad Mookerjee, saw its tally came down to 75 from an earlier 77.
The ruling TMC also retained the Khardah and Gosaba assembly seats in North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts respectively by impressive margins. The TMC, in total, bagged 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 returned BJP’s Minister of State for Home Nisith Pramanik in elections held earlier this year by a slender margin, the margin of victory for TMC crossed the record landmark of 1.64 lakh votes.
Dinhata, this time round, witnessed a one-sided fight where TMC’s Udayan Guha won over his nearest rival, BJP’s Ashok Mandal, by a massive margin of 1,64,089 votes.
The TMC’s victory in Dinhata in North Bengal is significant in view of the controversial demand for creating a Union Territory comprising all districts of the region, by BJP’s Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs John Barla.
Barla had sparked a political debate in the state when he called for bifurcation of Bengal, drawing a sharp retort from the TMC and other parties.
The by-election to this North Bengal constituency was necessitated by Paramanik’s decision to continue as a Lok Sabha MP for the district of Coochbehar in which Dinhata, a picturesque constituency, nestles.
The Trinamool Congress candidate Subrata Mondal Tuesday too won the Gosaba assembly by-poll by a massive margin of 1,43,051 votes.
TMC’s Subrata Mondal secured 1,61,474 votes, whereas BJP’s Palash Rana, his nearest rival, garnered a mere 18,423 votes.
The by-poll for the Gosaba assembly segment in the Sunderbans deltaic region, was necessitated by the death of the sitting TMC MLA few months back.
In Santipur assembly constituency, famous for its handloom industry which had turned into a BJP citadel in the assembly elections held earlier this year, TMC’s Braja Kishore Goswami led over his nearest rival – BJP’s Niranjan Biswas by a record 64,675 votes.
The Santipur by-election too was necessitated by the resignation of the BJP’s Jagganath Sarkar who had won the seat in elections held earlier this year as he too wished to retain his Member of Parliament seat.
In the Khardah assembly segment, state minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay defeated his nearest rival – BJP’s Joy Saha – by a margin of 93,832 votes.
Chattopadhyay secured 1,14,086 votes, whereas Saha managed to bag 20,254 votes. The bypoll to Khardah too was necessitated following the death of a sitting TMC MLA.
Hours before the EC announced its final results, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee congratulated her party candidates for the “victory”.
“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!” she said in a twitter post.
Taking a dig at BJP’s defeat in the polls, TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee tweeted, “A cracker free Diwali in true sense. Wishing folks at @BJP4India a very Happy Diwali!”
West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar blamed the defeat on the “reign of terror unleashed by the TMC”.
“Margin of more than one lakh in by-polls is unimaginable. We can very well understand the kind of terror that was unleashed by the ruling party to stop people from voting freely and fairly,” he said.
TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee denied the allegations, terming them as baseless.
“This is the beginning of the end for BJP. The more it will speak on communal lines, the more it will be rejected by the people of West Bengal,” he said.
The BJP had won 77 of the 292 seats of the West Bengal assembly that went to the polls earlier this year in April-May. The Trinamool Congress had then won 213 seats, while ISF and GJM bagged one seat each.
Following the resignation of Pramanik and Sarkar, the saffron camp’s official tally in the assembly came down to 75.
The TMC’s tally too came down to 211 after two of its MLAs from Gosaba and Khardah died. With the victory in Samserganj and Jangipur last month, the ruling party’s tally went up to 213 seats.
With the ruling party snatching Dinhata and Santipur from the saffron camp, its tally has now gone up to 215 seats.