In what was expected to be a three-corner contest between the TMC, BJP and the Left-Congress combine in Kaliaganj Assembly seat, the contest turned out to be a two-way fight between the BJP and the TMC. As the results went down to the wire, Kaliaganj was the only hope for the BJP in this bypoll. But in the end, TMC’s Tapan Deb Singha prevailed and defeated BJP’s Kamal Chandra Sarkar by a slender margin of 2,414 votes.
The Assembly seat in Uttar Dinajpur district, bordering Bangladesh, has been a Congress stronghold. But after the BJP won Raiganj Lok Sabha seat in May 2019, no one doubted the BJP’s fair chance to register an upset in this Assembly segment that has 70 per cent Hindu population.
However, with TMC making a leapfrog this time, even the BJP blames it on the “NRC fear”. “The NRC landed a big blow to us. It was our weakness. Now, we are realising that people were frightened with the NRC issue. We could not make them understand the issue properly,” the BJP candidate said.
The winning TMC candidate also said that NRC was a big factor.”People have lost faith in the BJP. The NRC was a factor that went against the BJP,” Singha said.
However, it was the Congress that was decimated. Dhitasree Roy, daughter of former Congress MLA Pramatha Nath Roy, whose death led to the bypoll, came a distant third, despite backed by the Left.