- With 18 months to go for state polls, TMC hopes bypolls suggest a trend
- Bypolls were held on Monday in Kharakpur Sadar, Karimpur and Kaliaganj
- In all three, the Trinamool and the BJP were locked in a tough fight
Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress score a three-on-three, winning all three seats in assembly bypolls in West Bengal. "The BJP's arrogance has cost them," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.
The Chief Minister, who has been fighting to retain her grip on Bengal with an aggressive BJP chipping away at her strongholds, said the BJP's constant talk of the NRC or National Register for Citizens to weed out illegal migrants had cost it.
"So much arrogance and pride is not good. The BJP is too arrogant and proud. Sometimes they are saying NRC, sometimes they are saying they will evict people and then give citizenship rights," Mamata Banerjee said to a TV channel.
"This result's message is clear, people are saying goodbye to BJP. BJP should go back," she said.
The bypolls were held on Monday in Kharagpur Sadar, Karimpur and Kaliaganj assembly constituencies. In all three, the Trinamool and the BJP were locked in a tough fight.
The Karimpur seat was vacated by Mahua Moitra when she contested and won the parliamentary election in May.
There was a huge outcry when the BJP's Karimpur candidate, Jay Prakash Majumdar, was heckled, assaulted and kicked into bushes by the side of the road by Trinamool supporters during polling. The incident was caught on camera. The Trinamool retained the seat by a margin of 24,000 votes.
But more significant is the Trinamool's victory in Kaliaganj and Kharagpur Sadar, where the party has never won before.
"Today's spectacular victory in the Assembly bypolls proves that the people of Bengal are with us... For the first time in 22 years, since the formation of Trinamool Congress, we have won the Kaliaganj and Kharagpur Assembly seats," Ms Banerjee wrote on Twitter.
Kaliaganj had always been a Congress domain. The seat fell vacant after MLA Pramatha Nath Ray died earlier this year.
In early leads, the BJP's Kamal Chandra Sarkar was ahead. But the Trinamool candidate, Tapan Deb Singha, overtook him and won by a narrow margin of over 2,000 votes.
Kaliaganj, which is part of the BJP-held Raiganj parliamentary constituency, was a challenge for the Trinamool. The BJP had won from Kaliaganj by a massive 58,000 votes when it won the parliamentary seat in May.
The Kharagpur Sadar victory is also sweet for the Trinamool as BJP's Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh was an MLA from the seat and he had swept the Kharagpur parliamentary seat. This was a Congress stronghold before the BJP's rise.
The Left and the Congress, which contested the bypolls together, flopped. They should "consider how much longer they will play with the BJP and stop helping them", said Mamata Banerjee.
With 18 months to go for the Bengal assembly elections, the Trinamool hopes to continue a winning trend.
Six months ago, the BJP stunned the Trinamool in the national election by upping its tally in West Bengal from two to 16 after a sustained campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. The Trinamool Congress's score reduced to 22.
|West Bengal & Uttarakhand ByPoll Election Results 2019|
|State||West Bengal||West Bengal||West Bengal||Uttarakhand|
|Leading||Tapan Deb Singha||Bimalendu Sinha Roy||Pradip Sarkar||Chandra Pant|