Saffron party breaks jinx in West Bengal

Saffron party breaks jinx in West Bengal

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to break its jinx in West Bengal after winning one of the two seats in the Assembly by-elections.

While the BJP won the Basirhat South seat, the Trinamool Congress retained the Chowringhee seat with a sizeable margin.

BJP candidate Samik Bhattacharya won the Basirhat South seat in North 24 Parganas with a narrow margin of around 1,500 votes, defeating his nearest rival Dipendu Biswas of the Trinamool.

The saffron party, which had a fleeting presence in the state Assembly in the late 1990s, will now find a place in the 294-seat House, where the Trinamool is a majority. The BJP won the Ashoknagar seat, also at North 24 Parganas, in a byelection in 1999, but soon after lost it.

At Chowringhee in central Kolkata, a seat which Trinamool retains, party candidate Nayana Bandopadhyay defeated her nearest rival Ritesh Tiwari, by a margin of more than 14,000 votes. While Congress candidate Santosh Pathak came third, Left candidate Fayaz Ahmad Khan of the CPM was trailing behind in the fourth position.

At Basirhat, the Left reversed its fate with CPM candidate Mrinal Chakraborty coming third and Congress’s Ashit Majumdar holding the fourth slot.

While state BJP leaders were ecstatic to have made a mark in the state Assembly and claimed that people have voted against the ruling Trinamool, saffron party leaders were reticent in replying why the margin was so small.

They also could not explain why despite the BJP having a lead of 30,000 votes over the Trinamool from the Basirhat South segment within the Basirhat Parliamentary constituency in the recent Lok Sabha poll, the byelection result did not reflect the advantage.

Although the Trinamool had a lead in both seats since morning, things turned around from the eighth round of counting. If at Basirhat the party was leading by around 10,000 votes, at Chowringhee the margin was relatively less.

By late afternoon the tables had turned and even though Trinamool won with a margin of slightly over 14,000 votes at Chowringhee, the ruling party lost the other seat to the BJP with a narrow margin. Election to  the Basirhat South seat was necessitated after sitting CPM legislator  Narayan Mukherjee passed away and at Chowringhee, the sitting Trinamool MLA Shikha Mitra joined the Congress forcing a bypoll.

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