Red wave swamps Bengal
Kolkata, May 11 (UNI) Defying all laws of incumbency, the Left coalition is all set for a record seventh consecutive term in West Bengal after winning an absolute majority with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee leading from the front.
Retaining power, the Marxist coalition has won 187 seats so far and is headed for a three-fourths majority in the 294-member House.
''It is our victory,'' Mr Bhattacharjee said, soon after winning the Jadavpur seat by a margin of over 58,000 votes. Nine of his cabinet colleagues also emerged victorious though three ministers were humbled as results of the just-concluded marathon five-phase assembly polls poured in.
The CPI(M)-led Left Front has so far registered wins in 187 of a total 235 seats declared so far.
The Trinamool Congress was coming a distant second with 23 seats while the Congress bagged 21. The RJD, backed by the Left Front, opened its account by wresting the city's Burrabazar seat from the Trinamool Congress.
Controversial Transport Minister Subhash Chakraborty, who often made headlines for the wrong reasons, managed to scrape through in a close contest to retain his Belgachhia(East) seat by a meagre margin of 1,800 votes.
Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattacharjee, Animal Resource Development Minister Anisur Rahman, Employment and ESI Minister Susanta Ghosh, Civil Defence Minister Srikumar Mukherjee, Fisheries Minister Kirnamoy Nanda, Food Processing Minister Sailen Sarkar and Ministers of State Bilasibala Sahis and Nayan Sarkar were the other winners.
However, the Front received an unexpected jolt as veteran Labour Minister Mohammad Amin was defeated by the Congress' little-known Abdul Khaled Mollah from Garden Reach, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prabodh Chandra Sinha was humbled by Trinamool's Sisir Adhikary from Egra and Relief Minister Hafiz Alam Sairani lost his Goalpokhar seat to Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi's wife Deepa Dasmunsi, who contested as a Congress candidate.
The other prominent losers were Congress Legislature Party leader Atish Chandra Sinha, who fought against a rebel candidate put up by party MP Adhir Chowdhury in Kandi, his party colleague and former city Mayor Subrata Mukherjee, CPI(M) chief whip Rabin Deb and veteran Trinamool Congress leader Ambika Roy.
Industry Minister Nirupam Sen, Power Minister Mrinal Banerjee, Health Minister Surya Kanta Mishra, Employment Minister Susanta Ghosh and Forest Minister Jogesh Burman are leading from their respective seats.
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