It comes as no surprise that the Trinamool Congress has won one parliamentary seat and one assembly seat in the recently-held by-elections in West Bengal comprehensively. The party has been cruising along with no threat to its sway in election after election, riding on the shoulders of its leader and chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The Congress challenge has been diminishing over the years and the party is nearing extinction. The Left parties too are in a bind with party chief Sitaram Yechury and his predecessor Prakash Karat pulling in different directions. It is an irony indeed that TC’s prime challenger is now the BJP which may be gradually increasing its vote share but is by no means, even remotely, in with a chance to threaten TC’s complete hold.
If these two by-polls have proved anything, it is that one-time Trinamool strategist Mukul Roy, who quit the party to join the BJP, has failed to make a mark in his new party. In Noapara Assembly by-poll in North 24 Parganas district, which is ironically the place where Roy lives, the BJP barely edged past the CPI(M) to secure a distant second position. Trinamool Congress’ Sunil Singh won the seat with a thumping 1,11,729 votes, while BJP’s Sandip Banerjee finished with 38,711 votes. In Uluberia Lok Sabha contest, Sajda Ahmed, the widow of Trinamool MP Sultan Ahmed and a political greenhorn, won with a record margin of 4.75 lakh votes over her nearest BJP rival Anupam Mallik. With such huge margins, the BJP can ill afford to gloat over its runner-up position.