Updated: October 4, 2021 2:25:48 am
BREAKING HER own record in the constituency, set in the 2011 Assembly polls, and winning all its wards, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Sunday swept the Bhabanipur bypoll by 58,835 votes. The BJP’s Priyanka Tibrewal got 22.22 per cent votes compared to Banerjee’s 71.9 per cent — the thumping victory healing some of the wounds of her bitter loss from Nandigram in the Assembly polls earlier this year.
The ruling Trinamool Congress also won the Jangipur and Samserganj constituencies in Murshidabad district, where elections had to be countermanded during the March-April Assembly polls due to the death of candidates. The TMC’s tally in the Assembly is now 215 in a House of 294 MLAs. Elections in the three constituencies were held on September 30.
Speaking to reporters outside her Kalighat residence, flanked by party members including nephew and TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, the CM thanked Bhabanipur for the “huge mandate”. “People of Bengal were hurt after I lost the election from Nandigram, when my party won across the state. There was a conspiracy to defeat me at Nandigram. A case (on Nandigram results) is pending in court. But the people of Bhabanipur voted against this conspiracy,” Banerjee said, noting that her victory margin this time was more than the 2011 bypoll (when she won by over 54,000 votes) and the 2016 Assembly polls (over 25,000 votes).
Banerjee also pointed out that the TMC led in all the eight wards of the constituency. “This is the first time we have not lost from a single ward in Bhabanipur. In 2016, I did not lead in two wards… About 46% of the voters here are non-Bengalis. They have cast their votes in a peaceful atmosphere. They have given me inspiration and new energy to work more for the people,” she said.
While Banerjee got 85,263 votes, Tibrewal bagged 26,428 and CPM candidate Shrijeeb Biswas 4,226 votes (3.56% of the total) and lost his deposit. Having lost from Nandigram by a narrow margin of 1,956 votes against former party leader Suvendu Adhikari, Banerjee needed to get elected to the Assembly by November.
In the March-April Assembly polls, the TMC’s Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay had won from Bhabanipur by 28,719 votes (57.71% of the votes). Later, he had vacated the seat to allow Banerjee to contest from there. The BJP had emerged second with 35.16% of the votes, while the Congress was third with 4.09% votes.
The BJP’s Tibrewal admitted the party’s organisation was weak in Bhabanipur but said the TMC had won due to rigging. “If people were allowed to vote, then the result would have been different. Even I got hold of fake voters on polling day. In several booths, polls were rigged and fake votes were cast,” she said.
In the other results, Jangipur was won by former state minister and TMC candidate Jakir Hossain by a massive margin of 92,480 votes. He got 1.36 lakh votes, compared to the BJP’s 43,964.
In Samserganj, TMC candidate Amirul Islam got 96,417 votes and won by a margin of 26,111 votes. Here, Congress candidate Zaidur Rahaman came second, getting 70,009 votes.
While the Election Commission directed the state government to prohibit victory marches and processions across the state on Banerjee’s win, to prevent any post-poll violence, TMC supporters came out on the streets to celebrate.
On Saturday night, Tibrewal had written to Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court Rajesh Bindal seeking orders to police to take preventive steps to avoid violence.
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