Uluberia: The by-election results of Uluberia Lok Sabha and Noapara Assembly seats, where counting starts at 7 am, was a litmus test for the BJP, which is desperately eyeing fresh pastures in the state in the upcoming rural polls as much as they have been prestige fights for the ruling TMC.
Trinamool’s Sajda Ahmed won the Uluberia seat beating her nearest rival, BJP’s Anupam Mallik, by a margin of 4.74 lakh votes. In Noapara, Trinamool’s Sunil Singh got 63,018 votes more than his nearest rival Sandip Banerjee of the BJP.
The death of two-time TMC MP Sultan Ahmed had left the Uluberia parliamentary seat in Howrah vacant, while the death of Congress MLA Madhusudan Ghose necessitated the Noapara Assembly by-poll in North 24 Parganas district.
Ghose had won the Noapara seat with Left support in 2016. This time, however, the Congress is on its own due to the changed political position of the Left, one that gave fresh boost to TMC’s hopes of wresting the constituency from opposition clutches.
With nearly 40 percent minority community vote share, Uluberia has elected Muslim leaders for the past four decades. In keeping with that trend, Trinamool fielded Sultan Ahmed’s widow, Sajda, from the constituency. The BJP responded by fielding its Howrah rural district president Anupam Mallik, after TMC’s Manju Basu backed out from contesting the polls on a BJP ticket.
The CPI(M)-led Left Front repeated Sabiruddin Mollah, who was trampled by over two lakh votes by Sultan Ahmed in 2014, while the Congress fielded S K Madassar Hossain Warsi from the seat.
The elections were held on January 29 amid allegations of sporadic violence and electoral malpractice against the TMC. The voter turnout at both places was over 75 per cent.