KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday secured stunning victory from Bhowanipore breaking all the records of Trinamool Congress’ victory margin since the constituency’s inception in 2011 after delimitation. She secured victory with a margin of 58,835 votes with BJP’s Priyanka Tibrewal trailing behind.
"The verdict of Bhowanipore was a reply to the conspiracy that was hatched against me in Nandigram. The Nandigram election result is pending with the court. I secured lead from all the wards of the civic body in Bhowanipore," said Mamata standing on the courtyard of her residence in Kalighat along with her family members.
The TMC won two other Assembly constituencies, Samsherganj and Jangipur, where general elections were held after candidates died of Covid. The BJP candidate Milan Ghosh lost her deposit in minority-dominated Samsherganj while the Left Front’s candidates lost their deposits in all three seats.
Mamata’s victory in Bhowanipore is said to be significant as she needed to get elected as an MLA to retain the chair of the administrative head of the state after her defeat in Nandigram in the recent Assembly elections. When the Bengal CM got 71.9 per cent of the total votes polled, her contender and BJP’s Priyanka bagged 22.17 per cent votes.
Mamata’s reference to leading in all the municipal wards in Bhowanipore was found significant as the BJP secured lead from two of the pockets in the constituency in the recent Assembly polls which are dominated by non-Bengali voters who form around 40 per cent of the total electorates. When the BJP trusted their non-Bengali vote-bank in the by-election, Mamata made it clear that she made deep inroads in the saffron camp’s citadel.
"She (Mamata) broke all records in Bhowanipore. In 2011, our candidate won by 49,936 votes and in the by-election Mamata won with a margin of 54,213 votes. This time, she broke her own record,’’ said a senior TMC leader.
Welcoming Mamata’s victory, BJP’s state president Sukanta Majumdar said, "Around 57 per cent of the voters turned up at the polling booths. It shows a large number of voters either did not exercised their franchise or they were not allowed to. We welcome those who supported our candidate and we will contest in the by-elections in the four Assembly constituencies which will be held on October 30,’’ he said.
Congress state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the poor turnout of voters showed a majority of the people in Bhowanipore had no interest in the by-election.
While welcoming the verdict of Bhowanipore’s voters, Mamata announced candidates for four Assembly constituencies—Khardah, Shantipur, Dinhata and Gosaba—where by-poll will be held on October 30. Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, who won from Bhowanipore in the Assembly elections but tendered resignation to pave the way for Mamata, will contest from Khardah.
Her nearest rival, BJP's Priyanka Tibrewal, secured 26,320 votes, while Srijib Biswas of the CPI(M) secured 4201 votes.
Although Banerjee claimed victory in a press conference outside her residence, the EC is yet to officially announce the results as they are yet to compile the votes secured through postal ballots.
"I want to thank the people of Bhabanipur, West Bengal and West Bengal, who were waiting for these results. The people of Bhabanipur have given a befitting reply to the conspiracy that was hatched to defeat me in Nandigram. I don't want to say much on a sub-judice matter. The counting is over, and we have won the seat by a margin of 58832 votes," she said.
The chief minister had earlier lost the Nandigram elections narrowly to her former aide Suvendu Adhikari, now leader of the opposition from the BJP in the state assembly.
She has since filed a legal challenge to the election result.
After Banerjee's defeat in Nandigram, Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, a state minister, vacated the Bhabanipur seat to facilitate her return to the assembly from there.
He secured 91826 votes, while his nearest rival, Zaidur Rahaman of the Congress, got 66,631.
Jangipur's TMC nominee Jakir Hossain is leading by a massive margin of 64,529 votes after the twenty-one rounds of counting.
Hossain secured 1,00,560 votes, and his nearest rival, BJP's Sujit Das, got 36, 031.
As reports of Banerjee's massive lead came in, TMC supporters hit streets across the state to celebrate.
On the other side, the state offices of the BJP and the CPI (M) wore a deserted look.
Voting in the seats was held on September 30.
(With PTI Inputs)