Bengal: Why Trinamul needs to win all four bypolls
The CPM nominee Debajyoti Das had received 26,916 votes during this summer’s Assembly polls from the Khardaha Assembly seat where polling is on for the by-election being held on Saturday along with Cooch Behar’s Dinhata, Nadia’s Santipur and South 24-Pargana's Gosaba.
Santipur 64.18 per cent
Gosaba 66.07 per cent
Dinhata 61.52 per cent
Khardaha 52.37 per cent
On Saturday while polling was on, CPM’s North 24-Parganas district leader and former MLA Tanmay Bhattacharya came under physical attack by alleged Trinamul workers while he was on way to the local CPM office.
Though Bhattacharya later told newspersons he did not believe the attack was a motivated one, CPM candidate Das (renominated for the seat) said in many areas polling agents were threatened on Friday night.
“We had reports of a biker gang involving 60-70 bikes entering from neighbouring Madhyamgram several times since last night. The local leaders in the Khardaha constituency helped them identify the homes of our polling agents, where these outsiders went to issue threats,” Das said.
During the Assembly polls, Trinamul had received 89,807 votes around 28,140 votes more than the BJP nominee. The candidate, Kajal Sinha, succumbed to Covid before the results were announced leaving the seat vacant.
Till 11 am, only 23.60 per cent voters of Khardaha had come out to cast their votes, lowest among the four constituencies where polling is on. While the low turnout is not unusual for a bypoll, the intimidatory tactics, which the ruling Trinamul has denied, helps the party keep its lead and therefore control intact in the area.
Since the Assembly results were declared on May 2, four MLAs from the BJP have switched sides. The outcome of the bypoll will have no impact on the political status of either parties, but would send a message for the polls to be held in the future, most notably the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
While Khardaha and Gosaba went to Trinamul in the Assembly elections, Santipur and Dinhata were won by the BJP. Two of party MPs who had contested and won the Assemblies later resigned to retain their Lok Sabha seats. In Dinhata, the victory margin was a mere 57 votes.
The BJP, which has seen an exodus of its winning candidates to the ruling Trinamul (though it can be said in favour of the BJP that the turncoat MLAs were from Trinamul who had switched sides believing the BJP to would come to power), needs to retain the two seats it had won previously to plug the leaking boat that the BJP’s legislative party has turned into.
For Mamata, on the other hand, a 4-0 result is important keeping the future in mind. In the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, if she has to be a contender for the Prime Minister’s post, the Trinamul has to do far better than It did in 2019. A repeat of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when Trinamul won 22 and 18 seats went to the BJP will not help her national aspirations.
Mamata needs to keep the BJP in check in Bengal electorally, not politically. That is why RSS shakhas have increased in the last 10 years that the Trinamul has been in power. That is why the Trinamul is aiming for a clean sweep in these bypolls.