Trinamool retains Kolkata South with massive margin

December 4th, 2011 - 9:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, Dec 4 (IANS) The Trinamool Congress Sunday retained its stronghold Kolkata South Lok Sabha seat, long-identified with party chief Mamata Banerjee, with its candidate Subrata Bakshi trouncing his nearest Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) opponent by a whopping margin of over 2.30 lakh votes in the bypoll.

The Trianmool’s strength in the Lok Sabha has gone up to 19, making it the second largest constituent of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) central government. The DMK now has one seat less than the Trinamool.

Enthused by the massive victory, Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the verdict will inspire her government to work harder for the state’s development.

“I am grateful to those people who voted for us. I think that they gave us the inspiration to work more for the development of Bengal,” Banerjee told reporters here.

“We have to work for the poor, for the common people who are the base of democracy. And we will strongly deal with any attempt to hinder the development projects. This verdict of the people of South Kolkata will inspire me,” she added.

State Trinamool Congress president Bakshi won the bypoll against CPI-M’s young face Ritabrata Banerjee in the vote count. Three other independent candidates in the fray lost their deposits.

The bypoll, held Nov 30, was necessitated by Mamata Banerjee’s resignation from the Lok Sabha after she won the assembly by-election from Bhowanipur two months back.

Banerjee has won half a dozen elections to the lower house of parliament in a row from the prestigious Kolkata South seat over the past 20 years. She triumphed as a Congress candidate in 1991 and 1996 and registered wins in 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009 with the grass-flower symbol of the Trinamool Congress which she founded by breaking away from the Congress.

Bakshi, who holds the transport and public works department portfolios in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, has been Didi’s (elder sister, as Banerjee is affectionately called) loyal soldier since the formation of Trinamool in 1998. He paved the way for Banerjee’s maiden entry into the state legislature by quitting as lawmaker from Bhowanipur, and she returned the gesture by nominating him party candidate from her old Lok Sabha seat.

However, Bakshi’s victory margin has outshone that of Banerjee’s in the previous polls two years back. Then, Banerjee had humbled her nearest opponent Rabin Deb of the CPI-M by 219,571 votes.

But in the assembly polls held earlier this year, the combined lead of the Trinamool candidates who bagged all the seven seats falling under Kolkata South, was over 3.50 lakh.

Bakshi also led emphatically in each of the seven assembly segments, but his margin dropped following a substantially lower voter turnout. While 51.55 percent of the voters exercised their democratic rights Dec 4, the voting percentage was 66.82 in 2009 Lok Sabha and 71.6 in the April-May assembly elections.

Accepting the results, CPI-M leader Deb said: “I congratulate those people who voted for the Let Front in the bypoll despite soaring atrocities in the state. This time eight percent more votes was cast in South Kolkata compared to the time when Mamata Banerjee had contested. This is also an achievement.”

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