Even as the Trinamool Congress retained the Howrah Lok Sabha constituency on Wednesday, a decrease in its vote share came as some consolation to its main rival, the Left Front.

Coming as it does ahead of the crucial rural polls in 17 districts of West Bengal, the result, however, comes as a boost to the Trinamool even as it is trying to shrug off the adverse impact of the scandal in the multi-crore Saradha Group’s Ponzi scheme on its electoral prospects in the coming panchayat election. Two of its party MPs were involved with the defaulting company.

The Trinamool will have to contend with an increase of 4.85 per cent in the Left Front’s vote share in the Howrah parliamentary constituency.

While the Trinamool’s Prasun Banerjee won 44.68 per cent of the votes polled, his nearest rival Sridip Bhattacharya of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) bagged 41.85 per cent.

By securing 10.14 per cent of the votes, the Congress, which was contesting the seat for the first time since 2004, has also emerged as a force to reckon with at a time when it has been dismissed as an insignificant party following the severing of its electoral alliance with the Trinamool in September 2012.

Though the Trinamool leadership sees in the results a reaffirmation of the people’s faith in the party, it cannot ignore the fact that the margin of victory of its nominee has come down by more than 10,000 votes.