Kolkata/Chennai/Hyderabad/Panaji/Itanagar/Mumbai: West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress retained the Bongaon Lok Sabha seat, while the BJP bagged two assembly constituencies in bypolls covering six states that saw the triumph of the states’ ruling parties and a poor show on the part of the Congress.
Apart from Bongaon, six assembly constituencies had gone to the hustings Feb 13. In the vote count, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won two, and the Trinamool, AIADMK, Telugu Desam and Congress triumphed in one assembly seat each.
Days after failing to open its account in the Delhi assembly polls, the Congress saw its candidates forfeit their deposit in both the Bongaon parliamentary and Krishnaganj assembly seats in West Bengal, was unable to open its account in Andhra Pradesh legislature, and bit the dust in Maharashtra and Goa.
All the seats including the Bongaon Lok Sabha constituency went to the parties which were in power in the respective states.
In West Bengal, the embattled Trinamool got relief by emphatically retaining both the parliamentary and the assembly seats.
In Bongaon, Trinamool candidate Mamatabala trounced her nearest rival Communist Party of India-Marxist nominee and former state minister Debesh Das by over 2.11 lakh votes.
The Bongaon bypolls, necessitated by the death of Trinamool MP Kapil Krishna Thakur, assumed extra significance for the ruling party after state minister and Kapil Krishna’s brother Manjul Krishna quit his post and joined BJP in the lead up to the election.
The BJP, which has been gaining ground in the state, finished second at Krishnaganj, pushing the CPI-M to the third spot. In Bongaon, the CPI-M narrowly succeeded in retaining the second position after a close battle with the BJP.
The Congress candidates lost their deposits and came fourth in both the seats.
In Nadia district’s Krishnaganj, Trinamool candidate Satyajit Biswas won by over 37,000 votes against his nearest rival Manabendra Roy of the BJP.
The Trinamool vote share dropped two percent compared to last year’s Lok Sabha polls, while the BJP’s vote almost doubled.
The twin electoral success boosted the Trinamool, which is also battling internal strife with one-time second-in-command and general secretary Mukul Roy distancing himself from the party.
Trinamool supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the twin victories as a “miracle”.
In the Maharashtra, BJP candidate Tushar Rathod, son of Govind Rathod, whose death last October necessitated the bye-election, won the Mukhed Assembly seat by defeating his nearest Congress rival Hanumantrao Patil Betmogrekar by 47,248 votes.
The BJP also tasted success in Goa, where Sidharth Kunkolienkar won the Panaji bypoll, defeating his nearest rival Surendra Furtado from the Congress by 5,368 votes.
The bypoll was held after the elevation of sitting legislator and former chief minister Manohar Parrikar to the union cabinet last November.
In Andhra Pradesh, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) retained the Tirupati seat.
Riding on the sympathy wave, M. Suguna of the ruling party won the by-poll caused by the death of her husband M. Venkatramna, defeating Congress nominee R. Sreedevi by over 1.16 lakh votes.
All other candidates including Sreedevi of Congress lost their deposit.
The Congress had no representation in the assembly. It drew a blank in general elections held in May last year as people vent their ire on the party for bifurcating the state.
The Congress’ consolation win came from the north eastern state of Arunachal, where its nominee Nyamar Karbak defeated his nearest BJP rival Bai Gadi by a margin of 119 votes in a five-cornered contest from Liromoba constituency.
Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK retained the Srirangam assembly constituency with a huge 96,000 plus margin margin over archrival DMK.
AIADMK candidate S.Valarmathi polled 151,561 votes while DMK’s N.Anand secured 55,045.
The assembly seat was earlier held by former chief minister J.Jayalalithaa and the bye-election was necessitated following her disqualification after her conviction in a corruption case and sentence of four years in jail.
In a statement issued in Chennai, Jayalalithaa thanked the voters of Srirangam for electing her party’s candidate.