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Byelection results, a dampener for Trinamool

By Marcus Dam

KOLKATA, OCT. 17. The results of the recent byelections to the three Assembly seats in Kolkata and the Siliguri civic polls are a measure of the ruling-Left Front's consolidation of strength. With the elections to the Kolkata civic body due next year, the significance of this victory can hardly be over-stated.

The results indicate the further marginalisation of the Trinamool Congress, the main Opposition party in the State and also that controls the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. Its candidates lost their deposits in two of the three constituencies that went to the polls on October 9 and it was pushed to the third position in two constituencies. The Congress candidates also had to forfeit their deposits in two of the three constituencies. The CPI(M) won the Entally and Jorabagan seats, while the Forward Bloc wrested the Shyampukur Assembly segment.

Out of the 47 seats in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, the Left Front won 36. Both the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor belong to the Front.

The failure of the Opposition to put up even a semblance of a fight comes as no surprise. Ever since its debacle in the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year the Trinamool has been troubled by infighting, a large section of the leadership openly resentful of its continuing association with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Congress is hoping to cash in on the situation, emboldened after emerging as the second largest party in the State in the Lok Sabha elections.

Only last week a former Trinamool MP, Nitish Sengupta, formally joined the Congress, a move that prompted Pranab Mukherjee, president of the State unit of the Congress, to say that many more Trinamool leaders would be joining his party. Last August another former Trinamool MP, Sudip Bandhopadhyay, joined the Congress.

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