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Bypolls: Left crumbles, Maya stages a comeback

Last updated on: November 11, 2009 16:06 IST

The Left Front, on the back foot since the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year, suffered yet another reverse when its twin citadels of West Bengal and Kerala crumbled under a determined Opposition onslaught. While the Congress routed it in all the three bypolls in Kerala, in West Bengal it was the combination of Trinamool Congress and Congress that did the Left Front in.

While West Bengal's 10 assembly seats went to bypolls, 11 seats in Uttar Pradesh, three in Kerala, two each in Rajasthan, Assam and Himachal Pradesh, and one in Chhattisgarh also went to the polls on November 7.

West Bengal

Riding the winds of change, the Trinamool Congress and its ally the Congress have bagged eight of the 10 seats in the assembly bypolls in West Bengal, handing out another humiliating defeat to the Communist Party of India-Marxist, which has drawn a blank.

The Trinamool Congress, which fielded candidates in seven seats, made a clean sweep by winning all of them. The Congress, which contested three, won only one when it retained the Sujapur assembly seat in Malda.

Even the red citadel of Belgachia East in the metropolis, represented since 1977 by former Transport minister Subhas Chakraborty, crumbled before a resurgent Trinamool Congress.

TC candidate Sujit Bose wrested it by a record 28,360 votes from the CPM's Ramala Chakraborty, widow of the former minister.

The party also set foot in North Bengal with Trinamool candidate Khageswar Ray wresting the Rajgunj seat by 15,029 votes from the CPM which had fielded Dhanapati Ray.

For the CPM-led ruling Left Front, the Forward Bloc's victory in the Congress stronghold of Goalpokhar was the only consolation as all other LF partners including the CPM have lost.

The CPM had fielded candidates in five seats and the CPI in two, and the Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Forward Bloc one and the Democratic Socialist Party in one each.

"It is a victory for democracy and peace. It is also a victory of Ma, Mati, Manush (mother, land and people)," TC chief Mamata Banerjee told PTI.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee declined to comment on the Left Front's rout.

"No," Bhattacharjee shot back when reporters questioned him at Writers Building, the state's administrative headquarters, about the debacle.

Veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu, who had made an unprecedented appeal to the Congress to vote for the Left in the bypolls, was not informed about the debacle.

"He was not informed about the election results. What does he have to say about it now?" the 96-year-old Marxist veteran's aide Joykrishna Ghosh said.

The seven seats won by the TC are Alipur, Serampore, Bongaon, Egra, Contai South, Rajgunj and Belgachia East.

The TC's ally Congress lost the Goalpokhar seat represented earlier by Deepa Dasmunahi, wife of former union minister P R Dasmunshi, to the Forward Bloc, the Left Front's sole win in the bypolls.

In Alipur, an assembly segment of Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's Kolkata South Lok Sabha constituency, TC candidate Firhad Hakim defeated the CPM's Kaustav Chatterjee by 27,555 votes.

TC candidate Gopal Seth won the Bongaon seat by a huge margin of 44,338 votes, defeating Pankaj Ghose of the CPM. The TC had won the seat in 2006 by 3,400 votes.

In East Midnapore district, where Nandigram falls, the TC retained the Contai South and Egra seats.

Dibyendu Adhikari, son of Union minister Sisir Adhikari, won the Contai South seat defeating Satyendra Nath Panda of the CPM by over 24,000 votes, while Samaresh Chandra Das of the TC bagged Egra trouncing former minister and Democratic Socialist Party nominee Prabodh Chandra Sinha.

Trinamool candidate Sudipta Roy won the Serampore seat beating Prasanta Mukherjee of the CPI by over 29,000 votes.

The Kalchini seat in Jalpaiguri in North Bengal sprang a surprise as it returned Wilson Champamari, an independent backed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. She defeated another independent, Sandip Ekka, by 6,035 votes.

The RSP, which had won the seat in 2006, came third while the Congress finished fourth.

While by-elections were necessitated in nine constituencies after sitting MLAs were elected to the Lok Sabha, the Belgachia (East) seat fell vacant due to the death of former transport minister Subhas Chakraborty.

Kerala

Continuing with its impressive performance in the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress-led United Democratic Front on Tuesday retained all three assembly seats where bypolls were held, routing the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Democratic Front.

The LDF suffered a blow in politically sensitive Kannur, where Congress candidate and former CPM member of Parliament A P Abdullakutty emerged victorious by a margin of 12,000 votes over the CPM's M V Jayarajan.

Abdullakutty, who represented Kannur twice in Parliament on a CPM ticket, was expelled from the party a few months back following serious differences with the CPM leadership, after which he joined the Congress.

Congress candidates Dominic Presentation trounced the CPM's P N Sinulal in Ernakulam by over 8000 votes, while his colleague A A Shukur retained Alappuzha seat by defeating G Krishaparasad of the CPI by 4000 votes.

The November 7 bypolls were necessitated by the resignation of sitting Congress legislators K Sudhakaran (Kannur), K V Thomas (Ernakulam) and K C Venugopal (Alappuzha) on getting elected to the Lok Sabha.

The results showed that the UDF had been able to consolidate its Lok Sabha performance of lifting 16 of the 20 seats in the state. The current round of elections were seen as a dress rehearsal for the 2011 assembly polls to be preceded by the civic elections next year.

Despite its best efforts and high voltage campaign, the LDF failed to reverse the rout it faced in the parliamentary elections.

The outcome of the bypolls will not have any impact on the stability of the government, which is entering its fourth year.

The campaigning for the by-polls had been unusually vigorous right from the start.

The run-up witnessed sharp exchanges between the LDF and the UDF in Kannur over issues like alleged irregularities in the voters list and deployment of central forces.

Following the UDF complaints, Kannur district collector K V  Balakrishnan was removed by the Election Commission after the poll process got under way.

Overruling the state government's reservations, central paramilitary forces were deployed in Kannur, under whose strict monitoring the voting took place.

The performance of the Bharatiya Janata Party was dismal this time as well, with the party candidates forfeiting their deposit in all three constituencies.

Uttar Pradesh

After the recent drubbing in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party made a stunning comeback, winning nine of the 11 seats in the by-elections.

The party, which is already having majority in the Assembly, has not only increased its tally, but also wrested seats from its major political rivals, including Samajwadi Party and the Congress.

In the star-studded contest, Congress nominee Raj Babbar has routed his nearest Samajwadi Party rival Dimple Yadav by 85,343 votes in the Firozabad Lok Sabha constituency. The seat had been won by the Sp's Akhilesh Yadav, son of party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in the Lok Sabha polls six months earlier.

In Etawah, home district of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, BSP candidate Mahendra Singh Rajput defeated SP candidate Vimal Bhadauria by a margin of over 32,000 votes.

Rajput bagged 76,131 votes, while Bhadauria managed 43,318 votes. The victor had won the seat in the 2007 elections on an SP ticket, but later defected to the BSP.

In Hainsar Bazar, BSP candidate Dashrath Singh Chauhan trounced his nearest rival Neelmani of the Congress by over 8,000 votes. While Chauhan secured 47,815 votes, Neelmani got 39,018 votes. The SP and the Bharatiya Janata Party were placed in the third and fourth position respectively.

The BSP's Chandra Bhadra Singh alias Sonu Singh defeated his nearest rival, Jain Narain Tiwari of the Congress, by a margin of over 49,000 votes in Isauli. Singh got 82,063 votes against Tiwari's 32,686 votes.

The Samajwadi Party, which won the seat in the last assembly elections, was placed third and its candidate Mani Bhadra Singh forfeited his security deposit.

In the last elections, Sonu Singh contested on an SP ticket but later defected to the BSP after resigning from the assembly.

The BSP retained the Lalitpur and Rari (Jaunpur) assembly seats by defeating the Samajwadi Party.

In Lalitpur, Suman Devi Khushwaha defeated the SP candidate Chandra Bhushan Singh by over 14,000 votes. In the 2007 elections, Khushwaha's husband had won the elections and the seat fell vacant after his death.

In Rari, Rajedo Singh of the BSP defeated Om Prakash Dubey of the SP by a margin of 12,586 votes, with Singh securing 74,381 votes against Dubey's 61,395 votes.

Rajdeo's son Dhananjay Singh had won the seat on a Janata Dal-United ticket in the 2007 elections, but later defected to the BSP and won the Lok Sabha poll on a BSP ticket.

In Padrauna, BSP candidate and former state minister Swami Prasad Maurya defeated his nearest rival Shakir Ali of the SP by a margin of over 50,000 votes.

Maurya, who secured 81,039 votes, got the better of his nearest rival Shakir Ali of the SP, who had to settle for 28,015 votes.

Congress candidate Mohini Devi, mother of Union minister of state for surface transport RPN Singh, was placed third with 27,994 votes.

In a blow to the Samajwadi Party, the BSP also won the Bharthana assembly seat, which was represented by Mulayam Singh Yadav in the last assembly elections.

BSP candidate Shiv Prasad Yadav defeated his nearest rival and SP nominee Pradeep Yadav by a margin of over 15,000 votes.

The BSP has wrested the Powayan assembly seat with its candidate Dhirendra Prasad trouncing his Congress rival Chetram by over 27,000 votes. Dhirendra secured 71,834 votes against Chetram's 44322. In the 2007 assembly election, SP candidate Mithilesh Kumar had won the seat. He, however, quit the seat after he was elected the Lok Sabha.

The Congress has wrested the Lucknow (West) seat from the BJP, with Shyam Kishore Shukla defeating the BJP's Amit Puri by over 2,000 votes in a close contest.

Independent candidate Ajay Rai won the by-election to Kolasala assembly seat by defeating his nearest rival, JP Mishra of the BSP, by a margin of over 8,000 votes.

Rai, who was earlier with the BJP, won the seat for the fourth time in a row, this time as an independent. He had defected to the SP after the BJP denied him a ticket for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and later left the SP on the eve of the assembly bypolls.

In Jhansi, the BSP's Kailash Sahu defeated his nearest rival, independent candidate Vijendra Vyas by a slender margin and after a recount.  

Assam

The Congress has won both the assembly constituencies -- Dhekiajuli and South Salmara -- that went to polls on November 7.

Congress candidate Bimananda Tanti defeated his Asom Gana Parishad rival Sivacharan Sahu by a huge margin of 21,029 votes in Dhekiajuli constituency.

The winning spree continued in South Salmara constituency where Wajed Ali Choudhury beat Assam United Democratic Front candidate Abdul Rahman Ajmal by 6,553 votes.

The bypolls were necessitated following the election of AUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal (South Salmara MLA) and AGP's Joseph Toppo (Dhekiajuli MLA) to the Lok Sabha in May.

Himachal Pradesh

The BJP has won the Rohroo assembly seat and the Congress bagged Jawali in Himachal Pradesh as results of the two by-polls were declared.

While the Rohroo seat was held by the Congress, Jawali was represented by BJP.

In Rohroo, Khushiram Balnatah defeated the Congress candidate Manjit Singh Thakur by 8,473 votes while in Jawali former state minister and Congress nominee Sujan Singh Pathania humbled the BJP's Chaudhary Baldev Raj by 5,249 votes, the state election office said.

Byelections on Rohroo in Shimla district and Jawali in Kangra district were necessitated due to resignation of Union Minister Virbhadra Singh and the BJP's Rajan Sushant respectively after they became MPs.

Rajasthan

The Congress retained the Salumber (ST) assembly seat while the BJP wrested the Todabheem (ST) constituency from an Independent in the bypolls to the two seats in Rajasthan, results of which were declared on Tuesday.

In Salumber, Congress candidate Basanti Devi defeated the BJP's Amritlal Meena by 3,098 votes.

In Todabheem, a seat held by an Independent, BJP candidate Ramesh Meena defeated his nearest Congress rival Shiv Dayal by 8,277 votes.

The bypoll in Todabheem was necessitated as the seat fell vacant when Kirorilal Meena got elected to the Lok Sabha as an Independent. Similarly, Salumber seat fell vacant when sitting Congress MLA Raghuveer Meena entered Parliament.

Todabheem in Kaurali district is dominated by Kirorilal and his wife Golma Devi, who is state minister in the Gehlot government.

Meanwhile, state BJP president Arun Chaturvedi said the results were a warning for  the Gehlot government and exuded confidence that BJP would gain in the civic body polls slated for November 23 and Panchayati Raj polls by January 2010.

A Congress spokesman said there was no loss to the party and it would assess why the party lost in the Todabheem seat.

Chattisgarh

Congress candidate Bhajan Singh Nirankari defeated the BJP's Jageshwar Sahu by 1228 votes in the Vaishali Nagar seat in Durg district.

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