Nandigram nightmare continues for CPM, Trinamool wins Assembly bypoll

The mother of a teenage boy killed in police firing in Nandigarm has defeated the Left candidate by nearly 40,000 votes in the assembly by-election for the seat, reinforcing the rejection of West Bengal's ruling front by voters of the politically inflammable constituency.

Firoza Bibi, whose son was killed in shooting by police and CPM cadres on March 14, 2008, defeated Paramananda Bharati of the CPI, giving the seat to Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress which has been fighting a bloody political battle with the Marxists in Nandigram. The Trinamool had earlier handed the CPM a comprehensive defeat in the May 2008 panchayat polls in Nandigram.

The Leftists suffered a second defeat in Sujapur, Malda. In the pocket borough of the late Congress leader A B A Ghani Khan Chowdhury, his niece Mausam Benazir Noor, a 27-year-old law graduate, defeated the CPM's Haji Ketabuddin by over 21,000 votes. The Trinamool did not have a candidate in Sujapur, and the Congress didn't put up one in Nandigram.

The CPM retained the Para assembly seat in Maoist-dominated Purulia district.

Banerjee described the Nandigram result as a verdict for "Ma, Mati o Manush" (mother, soil and humanity). "It is time the CPM learnt a lesson from this defeat. People in Nandigram have voted against atrocities in the name of governance and Nandigram will show the way to the rest of Bengal," she said.

Senior CPI leader Nand-agopal Bhattacharya, however, said: "We lost not because people have stopped supporting us, but because of the wave of terror unleashed by the Trinamool Congress.

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