Trinamool wins Nandigram; Congress, Left win one seat each (Lead)

January 9th, 2009 - 7:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Jan 9 (IANS) The Trinamool Congress Friday snatched from West Bengal’s ruling Left Front the troubled Nandigram constituency, which had witnessed violent protests against a proposed industrial project.In two other results, the Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) won the Sujapur and Para assembly seats respectively in by-elections held Jan 5.

Trinamool Congress nominee Firoza Bibi won by 39,551 votes over her nearest rival, Paramananda Bharati of the Communist Party of India (CPI), a constituent of the Left Front.

Firoza secured 93,022 votes while Bharati got 53,471. The BJP candidate lost his deposit. Firoza is the mother of Indadul, who died in police firing in March 2007. Bharati is a teacher.

Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee dedicated the victory in Nandigram to the people of the troubled region that had witnessed prolonged bloodletting over a chemical hub project.

“It’s a victory of democracy. The common people in Nandigram have won. It is a victory of the victims’ families who suffered great losses in the police firing. Our party stood by those families,” Banerjee said.

She said the Nandigram result would herald a new dawn in state politics.

“The people of Nandigram have rejected the Left Front,” she said.

But CPI-M MP from East Midnapore Laxman Seth claimed that the Nandigram battle was marred by Trinamool threats to voters.

“If the by-election had been held in a democratic manner, we would have won the seat. It was an unfair poll,” he said.

Nandigram in East Midnapur district has been a traditional stronghold of the Left Front. The constituency saw violence associated with the aborted land acquisition for a petrochemical complex of Indonesia’s Salim group.

The election was necessitated by the resignation of CPI legislator Sheikh Mohammed Ilyas following his alleged involvement in a bribery case.

A sting operation by a television channel showed him apparently accepting a bribe of Rs.10,000 from an NGO for development work.

“We’ll review the result in Nandigram and try to find out whether there was any organisational failure of our party in the seat,” Left Front chairman Biman Bose said in Kochi in Kerala.

Meanwhile, Congress nominee Mausam Benazir Noor, daughter of deceased party legislator Rubi Noor, won the Sujapur assembly seat in Malda district by 21,205 votes over CPI-M’s Haji Ketabuddin.

The Trinmool decided not to field any candidate for the seat as a tribute to the late Congress leader and former central minister A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury.

CPI-M candidate Minu Bauri won from Para assembly seat in Purulia district by 40,787 votes over Charan Bauri of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).

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