Huge wins by Trinamool Congress in West Bengal bypolls, trouncing BJP, add to Mamata’s aura of invincibility

The 4-0 victory with big margins by AITC, defeating BJP in bypolls to the WestBengal Assembly, show that the people of the state rejected attempts by communal polarisation by the saffron party

Mamata Banerjee (File photo)
Mamata Banerjee (File photo)
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Sankar Ray

The 4-0 victory with big margins by the All India Trinamool Congress defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party in the bye-elections to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly has sent a clear message to political parties and all concerned that the people of West Bengal stoutly have rejected the narrow politics of communal polarisation which the BJP leaders tried to cash in on in vain.

The second and no less significant factor that went against the saffron party and its politics is the rise in fuel prices from petrol to diesel to cooking gas. As a result, BJP candidates had to struggle hard to prevent forfeiture of deposit money.

The AITC got about 75 per cent of votes on an average in the four seats.

The leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly, BJP leader Subhendu Adhikari, who defeated AITC supremo Mamata Banerjee at the Nandigram constituency in the state assembly elections in 2021, stated bumptiously following the communal disturbances in Bangladesh that his party would win by three times the margin that it had won at the Santipur constituency. But the electorate reacted virulently at Adhikari’s communalistic instigation.

AITC candidate Brajakishore Goswami defeated the BJP candidate by a margin of 63,800 votes while BJP candidate Jagannath Sarkar won from the same seat by over 28,000 votes five months ago. Sarkar was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2019 from the Ranaghat constituency of which one of the assembly segments is Santipur.

The BJP’s state and central leaders need to critically scan the irresponsible call by its legislative party leader for polarisation of votes on religious lines. But at the same time, West Bengal’s electorate has conspicuously rejected the ‘Hindutva’ politics of BJP.

The most politically significant happening in the four bye-polls in this state is at the Dinhata poll battle where the AITC candidate, Udayan Guha created an all-time high victory by defeating BJP candidate Ashok Mandal by a margin of 163,089 votes. The previous record was set by AITC candidate Mohd Abdul Ghani, who in 2021 won by a margin of a little more than 1,30,000 votes and before that in 2001, CPI(M)’s Mandarani Dal set up a record of victory by more than 1,08.000 votes.

Five months back, Guha was defeated in the last poll by Nishith Pramanik, now a Union Minister of State at the Centre, by 57 votes. Guha’s victory is humiliating for Pramanik, who was the chief campaign manager for the BJP nominee. In his booth (no 234) he failed to ensure even one fourth of the polled votes. Mandal too failed to get majority of votes in his booth.

At Kharda seat, AITC candidate Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay won by over 93,000 votes, far exceeding the margin of 28,000 votes bagged by AITC candidate Kajal Sinha who died suddenly a couple of days after the date of polling in April this year. Chattopadhyay won from the Bhowanipur constituency but resigned to help the chief minister Mamata Banerjee from there.

At Gosaba where bye-election was held due to the death of elected AITC MLA JayantaNaskar, the AITC nominee Subrata Mandal was through by a massive margin of 1,43,059 votes.

The victories emboldened the emerging pan-India image of AITC, more importantly the significance of Mamata Banerjee, as one of the decisive leaders in the emerging anti-saffron movement. She has once again proved her unique leadership quality in combating the fascist offensive of BJP (read Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Two catalytic factors that once more made this victory much beyond expectation were the swing of woman votes that comprised 49 per cent of electorate and switch-away of ‘Matua’ (Namashudra caste) voters from the saffron vote bank. Both Pramanik in Dinhata and Sarkar in Santipur could win in the 2019 LS election due to the determining chunk of Matua votes.

(IPA Service)

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