KOLKATA: Ruling Trinamool Congress won the Maheshtala by-election in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal by over 62,896 votes on Thursday.
TMC candidate and sitting MLA Kasturi Das’ widower Dulal Das secured 1,04,818 votes while BJP candidate and former CBI joint director Sujit Ghosh secured 41,993 votes.
CPM candidate Prabhat Choudhury took the third position by managing to secure 30,316 votes. Congress did not put up any candidate in an electoral understanding with CPM.
Out of total 2,67,600 voters, 73 per cent (1,95,348) voted on May 28. Out of the total polled votes, ruling TMC secured 53.6 per cent of the votes while BJP got 21.4 per cent of the votes. On the other hand, CPM managed to get only 15.51 per cent votes.
In the 2016 Assembly elections, TMC had secured 48.6 per cent of the votes (93,675) whereas CPM won 42.2 per cent of the votes (81,223). BJP had emerged third securing just 7.7 per cent of the votes
(14,909). The victory margin for TMC was just 12,452 votes.
However, winning TMC candidate Dulal Das refused to acknowledge the rise of BJP. “I would not call this as BJP’s rise. Due to monetary power by the virtue of ruling the Centre, BJP spent a lot of money
to come second in Maheshtala,” he said.
“We knew that the margin will rise. The way propaganda was spread against TMC during the panchayat elections, our clear instructions to the workers were that even if opposition cadres stamped on
your feet, stay quiet. Let people see that TMC wins elections in Bengal only through the developmental policies of Mamata Banerjee,” he added.
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and Diamond Harbour MP Abhishek Banerjee used a popular Hindi proverb to respond to Opposition’s allegations of rigging during
panchayat elections. “Naach na jaane aangan teda (Those who can’t achieve find a thousand excuses). BJP’s arrogance will take it to nowhere. And, people will respond accordingly,” he said.
BJP candidate Sujit Ghosh said that TMC won mainly because of Muslim votes. “TMC won due to Muslim votes as well as some Hindu votes. We expected better results. But nevertheless our result has
improved since last year,” he said. Some 22 per cent of the electorate is Muslim.
CPM candidate Prabhat Choudhury said: “People did not accept us also but monetary power of BJP and TMC worked for their benefit.”