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Diamond Harbour: As expected Trinamool has retained the Maheshtala Assembly constituency in the by-poll with a bigger margin than the 2016 Bengal state Assembly polls.

But what has come as a blow to the beleaguered CPI-M is that the party has lost as much as over 50,000 votes since 2016.  CPI-M’ Samik Lahiri had polled 42.2 per cent votes in 2016 as compared to the Trinamool winner’s 48.6 per cent votes.

This time, CPI-M candidate Pravat Chowdhury has managed to poll only 30,384 votes as compared to Trinamool candidate Dulal Chandra Das’ 104,818 votes. This is up by around 11,000 votes than what Trinamool had got in 2016.

Similarly, the BJP, which hardly had any standing at Maheshtala until 2016, has fetched as much as 42,053 votes to come second in the by-poll. In the 2016 state Assembly polls, BJP had polled only 14,909 votes which equaled to only 7.7% of the total valid votes.

The by-poll for Maheshtala Assembly constituency was held on 28 May following the death of Trinamool MLA Kasturi Das in February this year. Trinamool this time fielded her widower Dulal Chandra Das, who happens to be the father-in-law of Trinamool minister and Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee.

The counting of votes today saw Das winning by a margin of 62,765 votes over his nearest BJP rival Sujit Kumar Ghosh, who is a former IPS officer. In the 2016 state Assembly polls, Das’ wife had won by a margin of 12,452 over her nearest rival from the CPI-M.

Upbeat by the result, state BJP President Dilip Ghosh told reporters that the recently concluded Panchayat elections and the Maheshtala by-poll have made it clear that BJP is now the number two political party in West Bengal and is the only party that can take the Trinamool head-on.