New Delhi: The just concluded by-elections in some of the States were also important, and the outcomes in a few of these could indicate the future course of Indian polity.
The most surprising one has been the defeat of the Trinamool Congress in Sagardighi. The Congress nominee has won, and this outcome in the minority-dominated constituency in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal is equally crucial and could leave a long-term fallout.
The by-poll was necessitated due to the death of three-time Trinamool MLA Subrata Saha in December 2022. The Left Front-backed Congress candidate Bayron Biswas could successfully humble Trinamool’s Debasish Bandopadhyay by a massive margin of 22,986 votes.
The defeat has led to deep introspection within the Trinamool Congress; sources say adding a few leaders have openly talked about corruption.
Congress-Left alliance candidate defeated the TMC with a margin of 22,986 votes in the assembly, where minorities form 58 per cent of the total electorates. In the 2021 assembly polls, the Congress and Left Front failed to send a single representative; this time, the grand old party is sending its first MLA in the 294-seat House.
“The debacle in a minority-dominated seat, where we won three consecutive terms, is a warning message before the panchayat polls. People’s anger were reflected in the poll verdict. A couple of months to go to the rural polls which are not enough to control the damage,” said a TMC leader.
There is another vital takeaway. Biswas became the first Congress MLA in the present State assembly as in 2021, both the Congress and communists had drew blank. Notably, even in Tripura during the February polls, the Congress benefited from its alliance with the Left, and the party could win three seats. In Tripura, too, in 2018, the Congress had scored a cipher.
The vote swing against Trinamool by around 28 per cent in favour of the Congress has unnerved several leaders in the Mamata Banerjee-led outfit. Hence, issues like TMC’s image hit due to corruption cases vis-a-vis Partha Chatterjee have now been debated.
“We have been shown the red card because of the misdeeds of some heavyweight ministers. Some other heavyweight leaders are making certain statements which are also damaging the party’s image,”
said Trinamool MP Aparupa Poddar, who is a two-time MP from Arambagh in Hooghly district.
The MP’s analysis came when the TMC faced serious corruption charges that landed several party leaders, their associates and former Government functionaries. Former Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, the party’s strongman, and Birbhum unit chief Anubrata Mondal have also been the scanner of Trinamool leaders and even grassroots-level workers.
Partha Chatterjee was slapped with the charges of irregularities in recruitment in schools, and Anubrata Mondal was charged with cattle smuggling charges.
The defeat was a major blow to the party before the rural polls. “Our party is facing corruption charges in different sectors, ranging from education, the 100-day job scheme, and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana,” a party insider remarked.
The corruption in the education department seems to have caused major damage, as the Calcutta High Court has already sacked thousands of teachers and non-teaching staff recruited during Chatterjee’s tenure.
In such a situation, it is natural that TMC functionaries and some candidates are likely to face the ire of poor people who were deprived of their right to get houses under the Centre’s scheme and their
children did not get jobs, sources said.
Sagardighi is a town situated in the Jangipur parliamentary constituency of Murshidabad district in West Bengal.
Various surveys have revealed in the last few months that the teachers’ recruitment scam has immensely hit Mamata Banerjee’s popularity.