Sugata Bose. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Trinamul’s Subrata Bakshi won the Calcutta South seat but trailed the BJP’s Tathagata Roy in Bhowanipore — Mamata Banerjee’s Assembly constituency.
Bakshi trailed Roy by 185 votes. In ward No. 73, where the chief minister lives, the Trinamul candidate was behind Roy.
The Calcutta South constituency has a cosmopolitan look with a sizeable presence of Gujaratis, Marwaris, Punjabis and south Indians in Rasbehari, Calcutta Port and Bhowanipore. These voters “cast their ballot en masse for the BJP”, a Trinamul leader said.
Bakshi spotted an under-current. “Votes seem to have consolidated in favour of the BJP in some pockets,” he said.
Sugata may have lost the Presidency University referendum on whether he should quit as chief mentor as he was contesting the Lok Sabha elections as a Trinamul candidate, but he won the referendum that counts.
Trinamul’s Jadavpur candidate trumped the CPM’s Sujan Chakraborty by 1,25,440 votes in the Lok Sabha polls.
“The people of Jadavpur have laboured hard for this victory. From this constituency, Mamata Banerjee and later, my mother (Krishna Bose) had been electedů. Apart from working for the development of Jadavpur, I shall make an all-out effort for the development of education,” the Gardiner professor of oceanic history at Harvard said.
Sugata got the maximum lead from the Bhangar Assembly segment but trailed in the Jadavpur Assembly segment.
Mamata Banerjee’s nephew won the Diamond Harbour seat by a margin of 71,358 votes.
Abhishek came to the counting centre, Hastings’ South, around 5pm, by which time most party supporters had left, to collect his certificate.
When a reporter pointed out that Trinamul’s victory margin had fallen — the party candidate had won Diamond Harbour in 2009 by 1,51,689 votes — Abhishek shot back: “How did you arrive at the calculation?”
He added: “Last time, we fought in an alliance with the Congress. This time, we fought alone. We have won more seats this time. The people of Bengal have reposed their faith in Trinamul.”
He said the BJP was not a factor in the seat although party candidate Abhijit Das got 2,00,858 votes. “The rise in the BJP’s vote share has come at the cost of the decline of the CPM’s,” Abhishek said.
Trinamul’s Roy defeated the CPM’s Asim Dasgupta by 1.55 lakh votes.
“I had never been more confident of a win than this year. Although I admit that I had not expected victory by such a huge margin, I was pretty sure that I would lead from the first round of counting and would emerge victorious,” said Roy, a retired professor of physics.
“The Left has nothing left,” he added.
In 2009, the margin between Roy and his nearest rival, the CPM’s Amitava Nandi, was only 20,000 votes.
Report by Subhankar Chowdhury, Subhajoy Roy and Tamaghna Banerjee