If you are a citizen of West Bengal and subscribe to the bestselling newspaper (both English and Bangla), you would by now have been convinced that Bengal was eagerly waiting for a chance to teach the “party of rogues” led by a “uneducated, foul-mouthed CM” a lesson. It was a matter of time, readers were constantly fed, before the mythological Saviour comes riding on a White Horse and sweeps Trinamool away, thus bringing ‘Good Times’ for Bengal (which rest of India is yet to witness in the last nine months).
In a democracy, people are supreme. They have the final say. After Bongaon MP Kapil Krishna Thakur and Krishnaganj MLA Sushil Biswas passed away last year, the political spectrum of Bengal had acquired new hues. The bypolls were being touted as acid test for Trinamool, which, as we were informed, was waiting to crumble like a pack of cards, and BJP, the saviour of Bengal, waiting to strike.
People have spoken and how! Not only has the janata janardan silenced the critics of Trinamool through the landslide victory, but the huge turnout for a mere bypoll, which usually sees turnout lower than the general election, is testimony to the fact that people have rejected the politics of hate practised by the Opposition in Bengal.
Let us not get into political rhetoric. Numbers speak for themselves. As is clear from the charts attached below, Trinamool had held onto it’s voter base in both the constituencies. Any gain that BJP made was at the cost of CPM. Congress, as expected, lost its deposit.
Bongaon bypoll results explained
Krishnaganj bypoll results explained
The Bongaon bypoll was interesting this time because a minister of the West Bengal Government, Manjul Krishna Thakur, had defected to the BJP weeks before the elections. His son, Subrata Thakur, was the BJP candidate. In today’s election, not only did BJP come third in Bongaon, but in Manjul Thakur’s Assembly segment Gaighata, TMC beat the BJP by a margin of 17000 votes. People clearly rejected politics of opportunism.
All those had written off Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool, hold your horses. Dilli abhi dur hai… The lady is here to stay, at least til 2021, if not more…
The saffron camp is celebrating already because after 1999, for the first time one of the BJP candidates has managed to secure a seat in West Bengal Assembly. But is it the right prism to view the results of the hotly-debated Assembly bypolls in Bengal? No. Let me explain why.
2011: Basirhat South. TMC-Congress alliance candidate was sabotaged by an Independent (a dissident of the Congress). Left Front won the seat.
May, 2014. Lok Sabha elections: Left was nowhere in the scene as BJP took a lead of 32000 votes from this assembly segment. TMC came a distant second.
Assembly bypolls held on 13 September: Not only did Trinamool manage to cover the margin of 30000 votes, Dipendu Biswas (TMC candidates) was leading till the 10th round in the polls. BJP scraped through by only 1700 odd votes.
Takeaway: Trinamool has increased its votes in Basirhat South and BJP has eaten into the non-TMC votes.
2011: TMC-Congress alliance candidate Sikha Mitra won from this seat with a thumping majority.
May, 2014: Somen Mitra quit TMC in January and was Congress LS candidate for Kolkata North where this assembly segment falls. Congress managed a lead of 1400 votes prompting Sikha Mitra to resign as MLA.
Assembly bypolls held on 13 September: Senior most leaders of BJP (including party President Amit Shah) came here to campaign. Personal attacks were made at Mamata Banerjee. Newspapers declared Trinamool is losing its popularity in Kolkata. Result? Trinamool wins by a margin of 14000 votes.
Takeaway: Trinamool increased its votes by over 15000 votes. People have clearly voted in favour of Mamata Banerjee. BJP has once again eaten into Left votes.
BJP’s “Modi magic” has waned because of which their lead in Basirhat South has decreased significantly and they got a drubbing in Chowringhee. They may have won a seat, but capturing power in Bengal is still a distant dream for Sanghis.
Trinamool’s popularity is clearly on the rise. No matter what ABP Ananda and a few overactive Facebook/Twitter users from Calcutta and suburbs want others to believe.