After the stunning defeat in the West Bengal Assembly bypolls, BJP candidate from Kaliaganj Kamal Chandra Sarkar on Thursday said that "serious confusion" over the implementation of NRC has cost the saffron party dearly. Mamata Banerjee's TMC has won all the three constituencies where bypolls were held. The BJP, however, tried to put up a brave face after the defeat and said that the results will not have a bearing on the state politics.
“We have lost despite having a massive lead in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. We lost as there has been serious confusion over implementation of NRC in Bengal. People didn’t accept this narrative over NRC and we too failed to reach out to the masses on this issue. There has to be introspection,” Sarkar said.
However, West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said that NRC wasn’t the issue and argued that people might be angry with the selection of candidates. “Why should NRC be an issue? In 2019 (parliamentary) polls too the NRC issue was there, but we had won. So, it won’t be right to blame NRC issue for our defeat. Maybe there was anger over selection of candidates,” he said.
Ghosh, however, said that the party will introspect and look into the results. “We need to look into the results. But we don’t think it will have any bearing on the growth of BJP in Bengal. Actually, it is a general trend that those who are in the government win the bypolls,” Ghosh said.
Tapan Deb Sinha of the Trinamool Congress won the Kaliaganj seat in a close contest, defeating his nearest BJP rival Kamal Chandra Sarkar by 2,418 votes, EC officials said. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had a lead of over 56,000 votes in this assembly segment.
TMC’s Pradip Sarkar wrested Kharagpur Sadar seat from BJP. He defeated Premchandra Jha of the saffron party by a comfortable margin of 20,788 votes. The BJP had a lead of nearly 45,000 votes in this seat during the Lok Sabha polls.
The loss in Kharagpur Sadar came as a shock for the BJP as Ghosh was the MLA from there before he got elected to the Lok Sabha from Medinipur. Kharagpur Sadar in an assembly segment in Medinipur Lok Sabha constituency.
TMC nominee for Karimpur Bimalendu Sinha Roy too won by over 24,000 votes defeating his BJP rival Jaiprakash Majumdar. TMC MP Mohua Mitra had bagged Karimpur in the last polls before she was elected to the Lok Sabha from Krishnanagar. This is the first time that the TMC has bagged the Kaliaganj and Kharagpur seats.
(With PTI inputs)
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