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West Bengal Bypolls: BJP to Review Performance after Kaliaganj Debacle Attributed to 'NRC Fear'

BJP national general secretary and West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya also raised doubts over the electoral process, claiming TMC workers were involved in booth capturing.

Sujit Nath | News18

Updated:November 30, 2019, 11:34 PM IST
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West Bengal Bypolls: BJP to Review Performance after Kaliaganj Debacle Attributed to 'NRC Fear'
BJP national general secretary and West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya also raised doubts over the electoral process, claiming TMC workers were involved in booth capturing.

Kolkata: BJP national general secretary and West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya expressed shock at the bypoll electoral results in the state after his party failed to secure even 30 votes in a few of the booths.

In a major boost for the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the state, the party bagged all the three Assembly seats where bypolls were held on November 25 by trouncing the BJP. The TMC won the Kaliaganj, Kharagpur Sadar and Karimpur bypolls. The BJP emerged in the second position in all the three seats.

The poll result is very significant for both the TMC and the BJP considering the upcoming 2021 Assembly polls in the state.

Vijayvargiya raised doubts over the electoral process in the state. "If polling was held properly, the results would be different. We got information that in some of the booths, our votes hovered around 15-20. Do you think it is possible?” he asked.

“TMC workers were involved in booth capturing. They threatened our election agents, who were chased away from booths. We would have won the seats if polling was conducted in a fair manner,” he added.

BJP candidate Kamal Chandra Sarkar, who lost to the TMC’s Tapan Deb Singha in Kaliaganj, had attributed the loss to the "people's fear" around the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

In response to Sarkar's statement, Vijaywargiya said the party will review the claim. “We usually do reviews after winning a seat or losing a seat. Here also we will look into it,” he said.

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Saturday said the party's failure to take forward its success in the Lok Sabha elections to the bypolls was due to the lack of experience.

"We will analyse the reasons for the failure in the bypolls. We lacked experience although our workers had the right enthusiasm. So we could not take our success in the Lok Sabha polls forward as we lost in all the three bypoll seats," said Ghosh.

Defending the BJP's performance in the polls, he said it should be kept in mind that its result do not have any relation with the Lok Sabha or Assembly elections. "Our workers worked with vigour and energy," he said.

"Our aim is to prepare for the 2021 Assembly polls. In the last Lok Sabha polls, we had won 18 seats, one less than what we had aimed for. The Trinamool Congress had won 22 seats though its supremo Mamata Banerjee had declared that it will win all the 42 (LS) seats," he said.

"We have now 18 MPs and four MLAs in West Bengal, which shows that BJP has considerable strength in the state. The BJP is not far behind. We accept the bypoll mandate," Ghosh said.

Kharagpur Sadar and Kaliaganj seats were a battle of prestige for the BJP as the two seats are known to be its strongholds. The TMC won the Kaliaganj seat for the first time.

Kaliaganj assembly constituency is a part of Raiganj Lok Sabha seat, which was won by the BJP’s Debasree Chaudhuri in the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year. Chaudhuri won the seat with a margin of 60,574 votes, with the BJP’s vote share increasing by 21.76% as compared to Congress candidate Kanai Lal Agarwal who secured 4,51,078 votes. CPI (M) candidate Md Salim, sitting MP from Raiganj, came in third.

In the 2016 assembly elections, Congress candidate Pramatha Nath Ray won the Kaliaganj seat by defeating TMC’s Basatna Roy. Although the BJP was nowhere in the constituency, it performed well in the last Lok Sabha elections in Raigunj, with Chaudhuri becoming an MP.

Similarly, the Kharagpur assembly constituency is part of Medinipur Lok Sabha constituency from where state BJP president Dilip Ghosh won the last Lok Sabha polls. Ghosh had secured 6,85,433 votes as compared to 5,96,481 secured by TMC’s Manas Bhunia. The most significant factor was Ghosh’s increased vote share, which rose by 34.36%, while the TMC vote percentage decreased by 4.19%.

(with inputs from PTI)

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