While the ruling Trinamool has been able to hold on to its voting share, the BJP on the other hand, has managed to increase its share of votes considerably pushing the Communist Party (Marxist) on the edge. Left parties vote share since 2009 Lok Sabha elections are on the wane and presently trying to fight out for the main opposition party tag.
Trinamool’s vote share in the urban Kalyani Assembly segment of the Bongaon Lok Sabha seat has dipped in comparison to the polls last year while that of the BJP has risen which has incited Mamata Banerjee to clip the wings of her once trusted lieutenant Mukul Roy. Sources believe that Mukul and his son have played an anti role in the by-election. However, of the seven Assembly segments in the Bongaon Lok Sabha constituency, apart from Kalyani – the only urban area – Trinamool has got handsome leads in the remaining six segments.
Whatever are the reasons the vote difference have prompted Trinamool leaders to wonder about if the model would be repeated in the civic elections this year. Leaders of the ruling party are taking stock of the organization ahead of the polls to 92 civic bodies, including the Calcutta Municipal Corporation in April this year. Although the bypoll results have proved that Mamata Banerjee’s appeal in rural Bengal remains intact, the Kalyani result points to an urban disillusionment.
A host of factors ranging from the alleged involvement of Trinamool leaders in the Saradha scam to the lack of industry has depleted Trinamool’s popularity in urban areas in recent months. The BJP has upped the ante against Trinamool to cash in on the mood and launched a membership drive. The BJP, however, has worries of its own. The drive is yet to pick up and the performance in the rural areas is poor compared to the urban centres. BJP national president Amit Shah has set a target of 1 crore members in the state by March 31.
While one cannot deny that the results of the Bongaon and Krishnaganj bypolls have brought to the fore the organisational deficiencies of the BJP, if the party wins some civic bodies, it would give a fresh impetus to its Mission 2016. With the municipal polls round the corner, the Bengal BJP has its task cut out. According to party leaders, the priority is to set up booth-level committees across the state.
A section of BJP leaders in Bongaon were unhappy with the party’s decision to field Subrata Thakur, the son of former minister and Matua community leader Manjul Krishna Thakur. The father and son switched to the BJP from Trinamool last month. The party insiders felt that the party needed to nurture those who have been part of the organisation or are beginning their political career with the BJP rather than giving importance to people switching over from other parties.
The boothwise analysis of the two seats revealed that majority of the Muslims and Matua community stood by TMC in the bypolls which has culminated the victory of the ruling party. But the upcoming battle for civic bodies will envisage a new dimension in the Bengal politics as it would be a warm up game for the 2016 final.