TRINAMOOL CONGRESS retaining all the three bypoll seats on Monday saw the Opposition accusing the ruling party of indulging in “rigging” to win the elections. State Congress spokesperson Om Prakash Mishra described the results as a “mockery in the name of polls”. “Rigging reached a new height. Reacting to this sort of a poll is an insult to democracy. How can Trinamool, which won the Monteswar seat by 706 votes in the Assembly polls six months ago, win the same seat by over 1.27 lakh votes this time?” he asked. Accusing the Election Commission of “not doing its duty in a fair manner”, he added: “The EC has been meek and subservient to the ruling party.”
CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra tweeted that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was trying to decimate the Left and give free space to the BJP. He also called for “unity of Left democratic and secular forces against twin fascistic attack”.
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Later, in press statement, the Left Front said: “There was pre-poll violence and Opposition parties were barred from campaigning. During the polls, hundreds of booths were captured and massive rigging took place, which is reflected in the results.” It also alleged that the tacit understanding between Trinamool and BJP was clear because “only Left and BJP workers were attacked”. The Left’s fight to restore democracy would continue, it added.
The BJP state leadership, meanwhile, appeared content with the results. Party state president Dilip Ghosh told mediapersons: “Before the elections, we had said that we will emerge as the second most popular party and the result shows exactly that. We have strengthened our organisation and it is encouraging that we had polling agents at 90 per cent of the booths.” He, however, alleged massive rigging in the Monteswar bypoll.
The Trinamool leadership, on the other hand, termed the landslide victory as people’s revolt against demonetisation. State minister Partha Chatterjee said, “People have given a fitting reply to the language in which individuals like Surjya Kanta Mishra and recently Narendra Modi had spoken. While Congress and CPM had been blown away, BJP has survived. In the next elections, BJP too will become non-existent.”