KOLKATA: The inroads made by BJP in the two previous West Bengal polls, banking on the drain in the CPI(M)’s voter base, received a massive jolt in the by-elections after the same set of electorates shunned the saffron camp and changed their allegiance to the ruling TMC.
The BJP’s vote-share in the bypolls dipped to around 13 per cent from 37 per cent in the recent Assembly elections, indicating that the electorates once having allegiance to CPI(M) and later to the BJP shifted their loyalty to TMC.
Surprisingly, there was no further erosion in CPI(M)’s vote-share of around 7 per cent that the party had secured in the recent Assembly polls which remained intact in the bypolls.
However, Congress bled badly in the bypoll battle as the national party’s vote share came down below 1 per cent in the four constituencies.
In its so called north Bengal stronghold, the saffron camp had bagged Dinhata Assembly constituency with a vote-share of 47.6 per cent which dropped to 11.33 per cent in the bypoll.
“It was unexpected. Though our candidate Nisith Pramanik, who is the MP of Cooch Behar and presently the Union minister for state, had a slender victory, we expected a tough battle between the BJP and the TMC. I never imagined that our loosing margin would be more than 1.64 lakh votes,” admitted a BJP leader.
Leaders of the Bengal’s ruling party said the CPI(M)’s lower rung leaders realised their strategy to derail Mamata Banerjee’s government was faulty and rectified themselves in the bypolls.
“In the 2021 Assembly elections, the Left Front joined hands with Congress and the newly formed Indian Secular Force (ISF) thinking they would take revenge for the 2011 debacle in which Bengal witnessed the end of LF’s 34-year era. But they realised it would not be possible as majority of the state’s electorate stood by us,” said a TMC leader.
CPI(M) leader Rabin Deb said the party managed to keep its vote-bank intact because of its loyal supporters.
“We secured around seven per cent votes in the recent Assembly elections. Those electorates were loyal supporters of our party, and in the by-elections they voted for our candidates,” said Deb.