This Article is From Sep 08, 2023

Trinamool Wins Back Key Bengal Seat That It Had Lost To BJP

CPI(M) candidate Ishwar Chandra Roy, who was backed by the Congress, was at a distant third spot with 13,758, he added.

Trinamool Wins Back Key Bengal Seat That It Had Lost To BJP

Mamata Banerjee described the win as the victory of the common people (File)

Jalpaiguri, West Bengal:

The ruling Trinamool Congress wrested the Dhupguri assembly seat in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district on Friday from the BJP in a by-election, an Election Commission official said.

TMC candidate Nirmal Chandra Roy, a college professor, won the seat by 4,309 votes. He bagged 97,613 votes, while his nearest rival, BJP's Tapasi Roy, widow of a CRPF jawan killed in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir in 2021, got 93,304 votes, he said.

CPI(M) candidate Ishwar Chandra Roy, who was backed by the Congress, was at a distant third spot with 13,758, he added.

Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee described the win as the victory of the common people and congratulated the people of Dhupguri.

She congratulated candidates for defeating the BJP in the by-elections in four seats in various states, saying it was a big win for the INDIA coalition.

The BJP lost in Dumri (Jharkhand), Puthuppally (Kerala), Ghosi (Uttar Pradesh) and Dhupguri, the ECI said.

"Dhupguri is a big win. The seat was with the BJP. It's a historic victory and I congratulate all the people of Dhupguri. This is a win of the people," Mamata Banerjee told reporters at the city airport before leaving for New Delhi.

At the national capital, Mamata Banerjee will attend President Droupadi Murmu's G20 dinner invitation on Saturday.

"I would like to congratulate all those who defeated the BJP to win the bypolls. The BJP has lost four bypolls out of the seven held on September 5. This is a big win for INDIA," she said.

"I thank the people of Dhupguri for reposing faith in us and voting decisively in our favour in the critical by-election to the Assembly constituency. People in North Bengal have been with us and trust our strategy of growth, inclusiveness and empowerment. Bengal has shown its mandate, and soon INDIA too will show its preference. Jai Bangla!" she posted on X, formerly Twitter.

With this victory, the TMC's tally went up to 217 in the 294-member assembly. It also enjoys the support of six BJP MLAs, who switched over to the ruling party but are yet to resign from the House.

TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said the people of Dhupguri embraced politics of development over hatred and bigotry.

"Saluting every AITC worker for their tireless efforts in connecting with the people. We're committed to leaving no stone unturned in ensuring Dhupguri's all-round development," he posted on X.

He had promised to make Dhupguri a sub-division by December this year.

Criticising the state BJP leadership's failure to fix the organisational gaps for the defeat in the Dhupguri bypoll, party national secretary Anupam Hazra on Friday called for "proper" self-assessment and fixing of the lacunae ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

"I think it is high time that there is proper self-assessment and organisational gaps are fixed ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. We should take measures to fix our lacunae at the earliest," Hazra told PTI.

Former BJP state president and MP Dilip Ghosh said it was "quite natural" for the party in power in the state to win bypolls.

"But at the same time, we must also have some sort of self-assessment regarding the results," he said.

State BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya, however, said the party will react to the election result later after a thorough discussion within the party.

With its defeat in Dhupguri, the BJP has lost all by-elections since its 2021 assembly polls and the official number of seats of the party in the state assembly has come down to 74 from 77.

Six BJP MLAs have switched to the TMC but are yet to resign.

Holding that an opposition party has only a slender chance to win a by-election, the CPI(M) said it will review the Dhupguri bypoll results and take necessary steps to strengthen its organisation in North Bengal.

CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty claimed that anti-BJP feeling is increasingly gaining strength countrywide.

"An opposition party candidate has only a slender chance to win a bypoll as the ruling party has an advantage," he said.

Admitting weakness in organisational strength in the assembly constituency, Chakraborty said, "We will review the result and take necessary steps." CPI(M) candidate Ishwar Chandra Roy received 13,758 votes, around 600 more than what the party got in the seat in 2021 assembly polls.

Senior TMC leader Firhad Hakim alleged that the Congress and the Left campaigned against West Bengal's ruling party despite being alliance partners in the INDIA bloc, an opposition front formed to take on the BJP in the next Lok Sabha polls.

"We are against the BJP and have been constantly fighting against them. But the Congress and the Left are fighting and campaigning against us and trying to help the BJP in Bengal," he said.

The BJP had snatched the seat from the TMC, which it had won twice since 2011, in the 2021 assembly polls.

The bypoll was necessitated owing to the demise of BJP MLA Bishnu Pada Ray.

The counting of votes was held amid tight security on Jalpaiguri campus of North Bengal University.

The polling for the by-election was held on September 5. A voter turnout of 78 per cent was recorded. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)