TMC wins big in both Bengal bypolls, BJP makes impressive gains

Trinamool candidate Sunil Singh won by a margin of 63,018 votes in Noapara. Sajda Ahmed won the Uluberia seat by a margin of 4.74 lakh votes.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2018 23:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
A security personnel checks a voter's card during voting for Noapara assembly bypolls in Barrackpore, on the outskirts of Kolkata.(PTI)

The ruling Trinamool Congress on Thursday retained the Uluberia Lok Sabha seat and snatched the Noapara assembly constituency from the Congress, winning both the West Bengal by-elections by huge margins.

Trinamool’s Sajda Ahmed won the Uluberia seat beating her nearest rival, BJP’s Anupam Mallik, by a margin of 4.74 lakh votes. In Noapara, Trinamool’s Sunil Singh got 63,018 votes more than his nearest rival Sandip Banerjee of the BJP.

“People have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the wave of development unleashed by chief minister Mamata Banerjee,” Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee said.

The win takes Trinamool’s tally in 294-member Bengal House to 213.

The outcome proved that the BJP was the only alternative to the Trinamool as the CPI(M) and the Congress were non-existent, BJP’s national secretary Rahul Sinha said. “The results will only improve with time,” he said.

The bypolls come a few months ahead of local polls in rural areas, which are being seen as a precursor to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. BJP president Amit Shah is keen to bag at least half of the 44 seats that Bengal offers.

The BJP increased its vote share in both the constituencies. It won 2.93 lakh votes in Uluberia, 1.6 lakh more than in 2014. In Noapara, it got 15,132 votes more than it did in the 2016 assembly polls.

The CPI(M), which ruled the state for 33 years before being voted out in 2011, finished third. Both the Trinamool and the BJP seemed to have gained at the expense of the sharp decline in Left votes. The Congress finished fourth in both the constituencies.

The results may rekindle debate on the CPI (M)’s recent decision to not ally with the Congress. Had the two parties joined hands, they could have finished second in Noapara.

The two elections were called following the death of Uluberia MP Sultan Ahmed of the Trinamool and Congress leader Madhusudan Ghose, who was the Noapara MLA.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 11:18 IST