Trinamool Congress retained the Kanthi Dakshin Assembly seat with an increased margin compared to last year but not before BJP notched up impressive gains -- securing thrice the votes it got in 2016 Assembly polls -- clearly establishing itself as a second force.
Trinamool candidate and former minister Chandrima Bhattacharya won the seat with 95,369 votes, managing to increase the ruling party’s vote share by about 2 per cent. The BJP candidate, Sourindramohon Jana, came second with a whopping 52,843 votes.
The Left and Congress were crushed with candidates of both losing their deposits. The Congress candidate got only 2,270 votes, an all time low. So did, the CPI with just 17,423 votes.
“People have accepted the BJP and here is the proof. Though we came second, it is clear that people have put their faith in us,” said Jana.
That the saffron brigade has been able to make a deep dent into opposition vote bank in Bengal in the shortest possible time was proved by the results. Kanthi Dakshin represents one of the strongest bases of the Trinamool Congress and is dominated by veteran MP Sishir Adhikari and his sons, transport minister Suvendu Adhikari and MP Dibyendu Adhikari.
The bypoll was necessary as the seat fell vacant after Dibyendu, who won the seat in 2016, was elected to the Lok Sabha.
Though the BJP’s vote share rose by three times compared to the 2016 polls, the Trinamool Congress leadership was not ready to give any importance to it. “People have faith in Mamata Banerjee and that’s why our candidate won with a bigger margin this time around,” said Suvendu Adhikari. “In 2016, the Left front got around 59,000 votes and this time, only 17,000. Probably Biman Bose (the Left Front chairman) has the explanation, “ he added.
Chandrima Bhattacharya, who won with a margin of 42526 votes, claimed there was a nexus between the Left, Congress and BJP. “They had a nexus and votes of the Left Front and Congress went to the BJP. There is nothing to be afraid of because people are with Mamata Banerjee, “ she said.
Left leaders of the district admitted that a good share of Left votes had gone to the BJP. “We will analyse this this trend,” said Niranjan Sihi, CPI(M) leader.
In the 2016 election, Dibyendu Adhikari (TMC) got 93,353 votes, BJP 15,223 and Left Front 59,469 votes in this constituency. This time the three parties got 95,369, 52,843 and 17,423 votes respectively.