Lok Sabha bypolls: Cong gets a scare in Jangipur, shock in Tehri

President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee Saturday won the Jangipur Lok Sabha bypoll in Murshidabad district of West Bengal but the narrow victory margin of 2,536 votes will give the Congress more worries than a reason for celebrations.

Pranab Mukherjee had won the seat in 2009 with a margin of 1.28 lakh votes. As a senior West Bengal Congress leader put it, his son's win "is as good as a defeat."

Had it been a triangular contest with the Trinamool Congress in the fray, the seat would likely have gone to the CPM. The drastic drop in the Congress vote share has been attributed to various factors, like growing unpopularity of the Congress, growing disillusionment with the Trinamool in the state and also the play of communal factors in a constituency that is located close to the border with Bangladesh.

According to the result announced Saturday, Abhijit got 3,32,919 votes or 39.01 per cent of the total votes polled while CPM's Mujaffar Hussain got 3,30,383 votes or 38.71 per cent. The vote share for the Congress dropped by about 15 per cent and that of the CPM by 1.5 per cent as compared to 2009.

Poll analysts said such a drop cannot be attributed to reforms or corruption in UPA- II alone because in as many as four assembly segments out of seven in the constituency, the CPM took lead. They include Sagardighi, which is represented by Trinamool's Subrata Saha, a state minister.

Yet another striking feature of the result was the performance of the BJP and two local outfits floated by Muslim organisations.

The BJP's vote share was about 11 per cent, the first time in nearly two decades that it has recorded a double digit vote share in West Bengal. The Muslim groups Social Democratic Party of India and Welfare Party of India together polled 8 per cent.

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