West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is leading in the Bhawanipur byelection by over 45,738 votes after 17 rounds of counting. She has to win this by-election to continue as the chief minister, as she did not win from the Nandigram constituency in the March-April Assembly general elections. While no political observer saw any possibility of Mamata Banerjee losing on her home turf, her winning margin remained a matter of curiosity, as people believed a big winning margin was necessary to keep up the tempo of the party’s national expansion plan
While the polling rate was low – only 57% of voters came to the polling stations – Banerjee had drawn more than 70% of the polled votes till the 12th round of counting, enabling her to script a victory with a satisfactory margin.
Bhawanipur in south Kolkata, ha elected Banerjee twice before: this time she is contesting against BJP’s Priyanka Tibrewal and the CPM’s Srijib Biswas. Banerjee, in West Bengal assembly elections earlier this year dropped Bhabanipur to contest from Nandigram in East Midnapore district, but lost to her former confidant-turned-BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari by 1,956 votes.
In the assembly general elections, the TMC’s Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay won from Bhawanipur with a margin of over 28,000 votes. He resigned to allow the party chief contest from her home turf. He is slated to contest from Khardah in North 24 Parganas district which will be held on October 30.