Kolkata: Trinamool Congress candidate Chandrima Bhattacharya today won the by-poll from the Kanthi Dakshin Assembly constituency defeating her nearest BJP rival Sourindra Mohan Jana by 42,526 votes.
The Left and Congress candidates were relegated to the third and fourth positions respectively.
Bhattacharya secured 95,369 votes while the BJP candidate bagged 52,843 votes compared to 15,000 votes polled by the party candidate in last year’s Assembly election.
Left Front-supported CPI candidate Uttam Pradhan secured 17,423 votes, which is only 10 per cent of the total votes polled.
In 2016, when the Left Front had fought Assembly elections in alliance with the Congress, it had secured 34.73 per cent votes.
Congress candidate Naba Kumar Nanda mangaged to get only 2,270 votes, which is just 1.3 per cent of the total votes polled.
On the other hand, the TMC whose victory from the Kanthi Dakshin seat was expected as East Midnapore district is a stronghold of the party, the TMC has increased its vote share by two per cent compared to the 2016 Assembly polls when its candidate had secured 93,359 votes.
BJP, which has increased its vote share by more than three times, emerged as the main challenger of the TMC.
Expressing happiness over her party’s performance, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “This is the win of Maa- Mati-Manus”.
Accusing the BJP and the CPI-M of having an ‘understanding’ , Banerjee said, “I have earlier stated that the BJP and the CPI-M are working hand-in-glove. Sometimes they transfer votes to each other. We do not do that. The CPI-M does it and even at times the Congress and the BJP do it as well”.
On the BJP’s finishing second, she said, “Who is in the second or third position is not my concern. The people once again extending support to us shows that they liked our work. So we have to continue our work in a more vigourous way.”
TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said, “The result has shown that the politics of vendetta and communal polarisation by the BJP and the RSS have been rejected by the people of this state”.
The BJP which has increased its vote share to 31 per cent from a mere 8 per cent in 2016, said that it was due to people’s faith in the developmental policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The results show that the BJP is the only party after the TMC whose vote share has increased. We may have lost the polls, but we are the biggest winner as our vote share has increased by 23 per cent, which is unprecedented,” state BJP president Dilip Ghosh told PTI.
The biggest losers in the by-election were the Left and the Congress whose candidates have lost their deposits.
The Left Front and Congress however dubbed the defeat as the result of ongoing communal polarization in the state.