KOLKATA: The ruling Trinamool Congress won all three Assembly seats in the Bengal by-elections, with CM Mamata Banerjee asserting that the BJP was paid back for its arrogance and divisive politics. Dedicating the victory to the people, Mamata asserted, the by-election results reflected the mandate against NRC.
“This is a victory in favour of secularism and unity. It is a mandate against NRC. The BJP is being paid back for its arrogance of power and for insulting the people. People, who were misled in the Lok Sabha elections, have rejected the BJP. Irrespective of caste, creed and groups, the people voted for us.’’
Besides retaining Karimpur, TMC won Kharagpur (Sadar) and Kaliaganj for the first time with 20,811 and 2,304 votes, respectively. The Kharagpur result is a blow to the BJP as its state president Dilip Ghosh was elected from the constituency in the 2016 Assembly polls. BJP’s defeat at Kaliaganj in north Bengal is also being considered a setback as Union minister and Raiganj MP Debasree Chaudhury had bagged a lead of more than 56,000 votes from this constituency. North Bengal had given seven MPs to the BJP.
Referring to NRC issue, BJP’s candidate in Kaliaganj Kamal Chandra Sarkar conceded that the party failed to take the people into confidence. “It played an important role as my seat has a sizable percentage
of Rajbanshis who went with the Trinamool in the by-elections.’’
BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is also in-charge of Bengal, claimed the results were a reflection of Trinamool’s misrule. “The central force was not used by the district administration. Several booths were occupied by the ruling party’s cadres to cast false votes. Had there been fair elections, the results would have been different.”
The Left-Congress alliance did not even secure second position in the three constituencies. “We agreed for the alliance shortly before the by-elections. In the Lok Sabha polls, the people rejected Trinamool. In the by-elections, they refused the BJP. It is clear, neither BJP nor Trinamool is their choice. In future, we will get the people’s support,’’ said CPI(M)’s Sujan Chakrabarty.