In a first for 22-year-old Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Mamata Banerjee-led party won the Kharagpur Sadar and Kaliaganj seats, where bypolls were held on November 25. The party also retained the Karimpur seat. The BJP emerged second in all the three seats.
TMC’s Pradip Sarkar wrested Kharagpur Sadar seat from the BJP with a margin of 20,788 votes. Party's Tapan Deb Sinha won the Kaliaganj seat, defeating his nearest BJP's Kamal Chandra Sarkar by 2,418 votes. The TMC candidate for Karimpur, Bimalendu Sinha Roy, won by over 23,910 votes defeating his BJP rival Jaiprakash Majumdar.
The Kharagpur Sadar had been a Congress bastion till 2016 when the BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh won. The bypoll was necessitated after Ghosh was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Medinipur seat.
TMC’s vote share stood at 47.5 per cent, while the BJP managed to get 39.3 per cent and the Congress and the Left Front were at a distant 7.2 per cent and 3.2 per cent, respectively.
“People of all caste, creed, communities, and background have voted for us. This is a victory of the people and is on account of our good governance, and connects with the people. We dedicate this victory to the people of Bengal. The BJP is getting paid back for its arrogance of power and for insulting the people of Bengal,” said the chief minister.
“People did not like the BJP’s divisive agenda and drawing votes on lines of religion and NRC,” Parliamentary Affairs and Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said.
In Uttarakhand, BJP's Chandra Pant beat her Congress rival Anju Lunthi by over 3,000 to retain the Pithorogarh seat for the party. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of sitting BJP MLA Prakash Pant in June, following which the party fielded his wife Chandra Pant.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said the victory was expected.
(With PTI inputs)