- BJP beats Left to take second spot in Bengal by-poll
- Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajnath Singh, Uma Bharti now visit Bengal
- Trinamool shrugs off BJP win, say it comes at the cost of Left
Top BJP leaders have been assigned to travel to districts across Bengal to interact with party workers as the BJP prepares for panchayat elections in the state next year. Yesterday, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was in Hooghly. Today, Rajnath Singh and Uma Bharati are in Kolkata and Howrah.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress retained Kanthi Dakshin convincingly, leaving its rivals trailing far behind. But for the Left, stranded at a very poor third, the BJP emerging as the principle challenger to the ruling party is a big worry in a state it ruled for three decades before being ousted by Ms Banerjee in 2011. There was a margin of at least 30,000 votes between the BJP and the Left.
A triumphant Trinamool Congress dismissed the BJP's growth saying it is all at the cost of the Left. "We are here to come first and between the first and second the difference is so huge that it does not matter who is second and who is third," said the ruling party's Mukul Roy. Former health minister Chandrima Bhattacharya of the Trinamool Congress won by a margin of almost 50,000 votes.
The BJP's strong performance in a Trinamool bastion is being credited to its Ram Navami mobilisation. The BJP and the RSS have been working to expand its footprint in districts like East Midnapore where Kanthi is.
In last year's assembly elections in West Bengal, the BJP won four seats, the party's best performance ever in the state.
The Kanthi Dakshin seat fell vacant last year when Dibyendu Adhikari of the Trinamool Congress was elected to the Lok Sabha from Tamluk.
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