Kolkata: The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal has swept the assembly by-elections bagging Kaliaganj, Kharagpur-Sadar and Karimpur, and setting the stage for a blockbuster contest with the BJP in 2021. Mamata Banerjee-led TMC has won the Kaliaganj seat in North Dinajpur and has also snatched the prestigious Kharagpur seat from BJP in West Midnapore district. The Kharagpur seat fell vacant after Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh got elected to Lok Sabha from Medinipur earlier this year. Interestingly, TMC has not just won the seat which gave BJP a lead of nearly 40,000 votes in Lok Sabha polls but it has also regained lost ground with a handsome lead of over 18,000 votes in less than six months.
Similarly, TMC seem to have regained some lost ground in north Bengal with the Kaliaganj victory. Kaliaganj comes under the Raiganj Lok Sabha constituency that was won by BJP's Debasree Chaudhuri in May this year. The assembly segment had given the BJP a massive lead of nearly 57,000 votes in Lok Sabha. Kaliaganj has always been an opposition bastion with the TMC winning it for the first time ever since its formation in 1998. In Nadia's Karimpur assembly seat too, the TMC won by an impressive margin of more than 24,000 votes.
Dedicating the victory to the people of Bengal, the Chief Minister said, "Arrogance of the BJP has been rejected by the people. They have been threatening to bring NRC, drive citizens away and usurp their rights. We are all citizens. Everyone has their right. They have been living in this country for a long time." Taking a jibe at the Left-Congress alliance in Bengal, Mamata said: "The CPI(M) and the Congress must understand that it will not do them any good to have an understanding with the BJP. They must become self-dependent. We support the Congress at the national level, but here they go along with the BJP. This is sad."
Meanwhile, BJP's Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya questioned the electoral process being held in the state. "If elections are held properly then BJP will surely win but if polling booths are captured then victory will be for those who are in power. We had requested the Election Commission to provide central forces in every booth but they did not and TMC has taken advantage of that. Vijayvargiya alleged that the TMC workers were involved in capturing polling booths and BJP would have won the elections if it were conducted in fair manner.
"TMC workers, goons and police captured the polling booths jointly. So this result was expected. BJP will win if the elections are fair," Vijayvargiya said. However, the BJP leader said that this by-election results will not have any impact on the 2021 state assembly polls. "We will demand central forces at every polling booth in 2021," Vijayvargiya said.