TMC on spree of bypoll victories with over 50% votes; Kolkata mayor gets 77% in KMC by-election
The ruling party won the bypolls at Lok Sabha, Assembly and Kolkata Municipal Corporation with more than 50% votes, which means the candidate could have won against a combined opposition.Updated: Jan 09, 2019 19:32 IST
West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) kept up its spree of winning bypolls at all levels in the state by securing more than 50% of the votes polled with Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim getting almost four times the combined votes of the main opposition parties in a by-election of Kolkata Municipal Corporation whose . where counting was held on Wednesday.
While Hakim, the first Muslim mayor of the city since Independence, got 16,564 votes, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Congress secured a total of 4,849 votes.
The BJP candidate got 2,577 votes, while the CPI got 1,735 and the Congress 537 votes.
Polling in ward 82 was held on January 6 and recorded a voter turnout of about 64%. No violence was reported.
“After the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the BJP will vanish from Bengal. One day, all votes cast in Bengal will go to the Trinamool Congress,” Hakim, who is also urban development and municipal affairs minister in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, said.
“The policies of Trinamool Congress are attracting people. They are reposing their faith on us. Therefore, we are winning the elections with such margins,” he added Hakim.
The ruling party won the bypolls at Lok Sabha, Assembly and Kolkata Municipal Corporation with more than 50% votes, which means the candidate could have won against a combined opposition.
In Uluberia Lok Sabha constituency, the TMC won 61% of the votes in the January 2018 bypoll. In the three Assembly by elections held in Sabang (West Midnapore district), Noapara (North 24 Parganas) and Mahestala (South 24 Parganas) in 2018, the ruling party secured 51.21%, 53.51% and 58.13% votes.
In December 2018, in ward 117 of the KMC, TMC candidate Amit Singh won 66% of the votes that marked a rise of about 8 percentage points of the votes secured by his party’s candidate in 2015, while the BJP candidate’s votes suffered a dip of 9 percentage points.
In ward 82, Hakim’s vote share, close to 77%, was the highest in KMC. His winning margin was 13,987.
Bengal BJP unit general secretary Sayantan Basu said, “Had the common people been able to cast their votes, the margin would have been lower. In the booths and adjoining areas, there were more outsiders than voters on the polling day. This has happened in all the recent by-polls in the state where our agents were not allowed inside the polling stations and our voters anywhere near the booths.”
“The results are expected. The Trinamool candidate was a heavyweight . Second, this pocket was a weak area for the Left parties even during the Left regime. Third, unless there is major anti-incumbency factor, the ruling party is always in an advantageous position in bypolls,” said Probir Deb, CPI’s Kolkata district secretary.
“Although the results are not unexpected, we need to introspect on why our candidate did such a poor show,” said Manoj Chakraborty, Congress chief whip in state Assembly.
After he was chosen in December to replace Sovan Chatterjee to the mayor’s chair, Hakim had to be elected from a ward of the civic body.
In the three-tier panchayat polls held in May last year, TMC swept all the layers winning 78.37% of the 48,636 gram panchayat seats, 87.49% of the 9,214 panchayat samiti seats and 96.23% of the zilla parishad seats.
Opposition parties, however, alleged widespread violence and intimidation in the rural polls.
First Published: Jan 09, 2019 17:52 IST