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Bengal by-polls: BJP fails to win even a single seat

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on November 28, 2019 Published on November 28, 2019

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna on Thursday Debasish Bhaduri   -  Debasish Bhaduri

Fear mongering over NRC benefits Trinamool Congress

The BJP’s faced a major setback in Bengal after the party failed to win even one of the three Assembly constituencies — Kaliaganj, Karimpur and Kharagpur Sadar — where by-polls were held earlier this week.

While Karimpur in Nadia distrct remained a Trinamool Congress stronghold, the party had been struggling to make a mark in Kharagpur Sadar (West Midnapore) and Kaliaganj (Uttar Dinajpur district). Both these places were Congress strongholds, which the BJP had breached in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

In Kaliaganj, Trinamool’s Tapan Deb Singha defeated Kamal Chandra Sarkar of the BJP by a slender margin of 2,400 votes; while in Kharagpur Sadar, Pradip Sarkar (TMC) beat Prem Chandra Jha of BJP by 20,853 votes.

In Karimpur, there was a BJP rout with Bimalendu Sinha Roy of Trinamool securing an early and comfortable lead over BJP’s Jay Prakash Majumdar. Majumdar was defeated by a margin of over 24,000 votes.

BJP’s vote share across the three seats averaged out at 39 per cent; while that of Trinamool stood at 48 per cent. The Congress-CPM combine’s share was 10 per cent.

‘People were misled’

According to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, politics of “arrogance and unnecessary pride” will not work. “In 2019 election, people were misled by nationalistic ideas. People have seen the true faces. A common citizen does not want to stand in a queue to prove his or her nationality. The NRC will drown them. We are grateful to people that they blessed us again. We got two seats that we never had,” she said.

According to Swapan Dasgupta, BJP MP, it is a major set-back for his party here. On the face of it, result shows State elections and Lok Sabha polls are fought on different planks; and the State unit of the BJP had failed to gauge this. This apart, issues like candidate selection and how Banerjee successfully cashed in on the fear psychosis created by National Registry of Citizens (NRC) needs to be looked into.

Significantly, BJP’s NRC over-drive failed to reap political dividends this time. And, Mamata’s efforts to counter the same have worked.

During her campaign rallies, Banerjee focussed on painting BJP as an anti-Bengali party that was systematically driving out Bengali Hindus from Assam through NRC and how it would do the same here, if voted to power.

“Mamata has used NRC to not just consolidate Muslim votes in her favour, but, has also created a rift in Hindu votes. For instance, by repeatedly raising the issue of 12 lakh Hindu names being left out in Assam she created a fear psychosis and division in Hindu votes. This apart, her invoking regional pride time and again has come in handy to counter the BJP,” said Biswanath Chakraborty, a noted political analyst.

Published on November 28, 2019
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