Durgapur: Coming as a morale booster of
sorts for the Left, ruling CPI-M today won the Durgapur-1
Assembly seat in a by-election defeating Trinamool
Congress-backed Congress candidate by a margin of 8,817 votes.
However, the party, which has been winning from the
constituency since 1977, won by a substantially reduced
margin. In the 2006 Assembly election, it had defeated its
nearest rival by a margin of 40,972 votes.
While Archana Bhattacharya of CPI-M polled 53,513 votes,
Bangshibadan Karmakar of the Congress secured 44,696 votes.
BJP`s Kaushik Roychowdury got 4,243 votes and RJD`s Sunil
Yadav came a poor fourth getting 1,735 votes, according to the
returning officer and Burdwan district magistrate Omkar Singh
The polling was held on the day of the `Bharat Bandh` on
July 5. Predominantly an industrial belt and a stronghold
of the CPI-M, the area was excluded by the Left Front from the
purview of the bandh because of the by-poll.
Bhattacherjee dubbed her victory, which came after a
string of poll defeats for the Left starting with Lok Sabha
election in 2009, as a reflection of "People`s anger against
Centre`s failure to contain inflation and hike in fuel
prices," as also to register protest against alleged
Opposition "terror" in the state.
She said the victory was all the more heartening amidst
perceived winds of change blowing across the state.
Trinamool Congress had left the seat to the Congress
after Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee offered the
seat to Congress in a recent meeting with Union Finance
Minister Pranab Mukherjee and former state Congress chief.
The seat fell vacant after the death of CPI-M leader and
state power minister Mrinal Banerjee. Banerjee had polled
61,924 votes in the 2006 Assembly election, while Karmkar had
come second securing 20,952 votes.
Trinamool Congress, then in NDA, had left the seat to its
alliance partner BJP which had come third with 15,969 votes.
Durgapur has been with the Left since 1977.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha poll, Congress had contested the
Burdwan-Durgapur constituency, of which Durgapur Assembly
segment is a part, and lost to CPI-M by nearly 16,000
Burdwan district, in which Durgapur falls, was till
recently the stronghold of the CPI-M, but Trinamool Congress
has of late made rapid inroads by capturing several
municipalities in the recently-held civic election.
Apart from the Asansol Municipal Corporation, Trinamool
Congress is also running the municipalities of Kulti and
Guskara and has won from Memari, Kalna and Dainhat as well.
Congress on other hand is running Katwa Municipality.