Left Front supported Congress candidate Bayron Biswas sprang a surprise on Thursday by defeating Trinamool Congress nominee Debasish Banerjee in the by-election for Sagardighi Assembly constituency in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district by a margin of 22,986 votes.
The bypoll results are significant not only because the Congress party will have a representative in the State Assembly but also because Trinamool Congress lost in a constituency where it had registered three consecutive victories since 2011.
About 68% of the electorate in Murshidabad is from the minority community and the voters from the community in the past had overwhelmingly supported Trinamool Congress. Former MLA and State’s Subrata Saha whose death in December 2022 necessitated the bypolls had won the seat in 2021 by a margin of over 50,000 votes
In the bypoll Mr. Biswas who is a local beedi baron secured more than 47.35 % of the total votes polled whereas the Trinamool nominee secured about 34.94 % votes.
State Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the results are an indication that Trinamool Congress and Mamata Banerjee are not invincible in the State. Mr. Chowdhury thanked the leaders of Left parties including CPI(M) State Secretary Md. Salim and Left Front chairperson Biman Bose for their support. The Congress MP said that minorities have started deserting the Trinamool Congress and stressed on the need to continue with the Left Congress alliance in the upcoming panchayat polls.
The State Congress President did not hesitate from admitting a “strategic support” by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the bypoll. The BJP candidate Dilip Saha secured about 13.9% votes. With the victory of Bayron Biswas, Congress will have representatives in the State Assembly after 2021. In the 2021 Assembly polls both Left parties and Congress failed to win a single seat in the State Assembly.
Immoral Alliance claims Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that loss at Sagardighi was the result of an “immoral alliance” between the Left, Congress and the BJP. Ms. Banerjee said that BJP transferred all its votes to the Congress candidate. Referring to the State Congress President’s remarks, the Chief Minister pointed out that since the Congress is grateful to the BJP they cannot fight the saffron party. She accused the parties in the Opposition of playing communal card and added that Trinamool will fight all the three political parties. The Chief Minister refuted claims by Opposition parties that minorities are shifting their allegiance from the Trinamool Congress.
CPI(M) State Secretary Md. Salim said that people of the Sagardighi were able to freely exercise their franchise in the by-poll and added the setback to Trinamool Congress will bring it closer to the BJP.