Voters in south Kolkata’s Bhowanipore on Sunday gave their “ghorer meye” (daughter of the house) Mamata Banerjee the mandate she needed to continue as Bengal CM in the form of her biggest ever victory margin of 58,835 votes in an assembly poll. Trinamool also retained the Jangipur and Shamsherganj seats.
There were so many conspiracies against me. The people of Bhowanipore have given a befitting reply to those conspiracies and the conspirators...You have inspired me to work harder,” she said, basking in the afterglow of a comeback just five months after a rare poll setback in Nandigram. “They sent 3,500 central forces to this small constituency. But the people of Bhowanipore have given an answer on behalf of Bengal and India,” Mamata said in her seven-minute-31-second victory speech, punctuated with chants of “Didi, Didi” from the crowd.
Jakir Hossain won Jangipur for Trinamool by a staggering 92,480 votes while Amirul Islam emerged victorious in Shamsherganj to maintain the party’s strength of 213 in the 294-member assembly. Party seniors said the ease of Mamata’s victory, more than anything else, would help set the agenda for the four bypolls later this month and the civic elections after that.
The Bhowanipore win was the first time since 2014 that Trinamool had led in all eight wards of this multilingual and multicultural seat, giving Mamata the ammo to respond to BJP’s jibes that her party is overly dependent on specific voter blocs. The CM didn’t lose the opportunity to emphasise this point in her first remarks after the victory. “Every ward has given us a lead. This is a seat where Hindus stay with Muslims and Sikhs and Bengalis stay with Gujaratis, Punjabis, Oriyas, Biharis and people from UP. I thank every one of them,” she said.
Mamata got 71.9% of the total votes cast, leaving only 22.2% for BJP’s Priyanka Tibrewal. CPM also took a body blow, getting only 3.5 % of the vote share and losing its deposit in a seat labelled “mini India” during the bypoll campaign.