Biggest loss for Congress in West Bengal as Mamata Banerjee wins bypolls
New Delhi: With the ruling Trinamool Congress winning the West Bengal bypolls, Congress insiders say the biggest loss is of their party which has formally conceded opposition space to the BJP, now the number two in the state.
This makes West Bengal the third major state after Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where Congress presence is getting wiped out.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee secured 84,709 votes, decisively defeating BJP’s Priyanka Tibrewal who secured 26,350 votes in the make or break Bhabanipur bypoll, while CPI-M’s Shreejib Biwas managed to get only 4,201 votes. In Jangipur and Samserganj too, the Trinamool have maintained decisive leads.
The Congress, which did not contest Bhabanipur, was the second largest party with 44 MLAs in the assembly after the 2016 polls but now has none and just one Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha MP from the state. The party has to start virtually from scratch with more leaders shifting towards Trinamool.
Meanwhile, in UP, the party has only one Lok Sabha MP and out of 7 MLAs elected in 2017, two have left the party.
In Bihar too, the Congress has one Lok Sabha seat and 19 MLAs.
The Congress position is unviable given these states account for 162 Lok Sabha seats (UP 80, West Bengal 42 and Bihar 40).
In all these states, the regional parties – the SP/BSP in UP, the RJD in Bihar, and now, Trinamool in West Bengal – have pushed Congress to the periphery, and experts say that the party will have to make a turnaround in these states if it wants to make a mark in the 2024 general elections.