Trinamool wins Howrah bypoll, signs of discontent visible as Left vote share rises
KOLKATA, JUNE 5: After nearly a four-year-long winning streak,
Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress on Wednesday faced early signs of
discontent among voters at the by-election to the Howrah Lok Sabha
constituency. Howrah is the twin-city of Kolkata.
The discontent, visible in a surge in the
vote share in favour of the Left Front, however, did not change the end result.
Trinamool nominee, Prasun Bannerjee, a former captain of Indian soccer team,
won the seat by a margin of over 27,000 votes, against his nearest rival Sridip
Bhattacharjee of CPI(M).
Mamata Banerjee expressed satisfaction with
the result. Because unlike in 2009 Lok Sabha Polls and the Assembly election in
2011, Trinamool Congress did not have the backing of one-time ally Congress.
Trinamool walked out of the alliance in 2012. “Congress requires us. We don’t need
Congress,” she announced, taking credit for winning the fight, “solo”.
But, the arithmetic is not that simple.
Political analysts suggest that since 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the Left Front
witnessed a steady erosion in its vote share in almost every poll (except
Haldia municipal election), in the State.
From 44 per cent in 2009 (Lok Sabha), Left’s
vote share came down to nearly 41 per cent in 2011 (Assembly). Subsequent by
polls and municipal polls saw Left’s vote share coming down by another 5-10
percentage points. The fall was steady and uninterrupted.
The correction came in Howrah by-poll.
Compared with the 2009 election, the Left ended up nearly two percentage points
lower at 41.85 per cent. But, compared against the tally in Assembly segments
in 2011, the CPI(M)’s vote share went up by 4.5 percentage points.
In 2011 Assembly election, the TMC-Congress
alliance got 54 per cent vote against 37 per cent of Left, in the respective
Lok Sabha segment. Left drew a blank in all of seven assembly constituencies in
2011. In contrast, in the 2013 Lok Sabha by-poll, Left secured lead in two
With Congress ending up the 2013 by-poll with
over 10 per cent votes, their average share in the state, Left camp is
anticipating erosion in Trinamool’s vote share in Howrah.
“TMC’s vote share is expected to have come
down. Dissolution is growing among people. If they (TMC) did not suppress and
intimidate voters results would have been better,” said Surya Kanta Mishra,
CPI(M) politburo member and Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Legislative