Explained: What historic Asansol win means for TMC
Kolkata, Apr 16: TMC leader Shatrughan Sinha registered a resounding victory from Asansol Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal bypolls. Hinging on actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha's star power and appeal among the Hindi-speaking population, the TMC clinched the Asansol Lok Sabha seat.
The 76-year-old TMC leader also broke the "jinx" by becoming the first Trinamool Congress candidate to win from the Lok Sabha seat in the bypoll, the result of which was declared on Saturday. With this, Shatrughan Sinhais set to return to the Lok Sabha three years after losing his stronghold of Patna Sahib in Bihar.
By-poll to the Lok Sabha segment, scheduled on April 12, was necessitated as former Union minister and two-time MP Babul Supriyo quit the membership of Parliament last year after crossing over to the TMC from the BJP.
The saffron party, on its part wanted to retain the seat that Supriyo had twice bagged for the camp - in 2014 and 2019 - as it fielded fashion designer-cum-saffron camp member Agnimitra Paul to counter Sinha.
Supriyo, who left the BJP after being dropped from the Union ministry, is contesting on a TMC ticket for the Ballygunge assembly by-poll, to be held along with the Asansol election.
An industrial belt known for its coal mines, steel industries and Chittaranjan Locomotives, Asansol in Paschim Bardhaman district is the second-largest and most populous city of West Bengal after Kolkata, as per the 2011 Census.
Nearly 15 lakh electorate of Asansol is coal mine workers, factory workers, and small-time businessmen. About 45 per cent of the voters speak Hindi and trace their roots to Jharkhand, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. The area also has around a 15 per cent minority population.
Popularly called 'Shotgun' by fans for his straightforward dialogue deliveries in films, Sinha, who joined the TMC after his four-decade-long stint in BJP and a brief inning in Congress.
The Asansol Lok Sabha segment has largely been a Congress stronghold until the late eighties. In 1989, however, it became a CPI (M) bastion. Tables turned in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as the people of Asansol voted for Supriyo, a political greenhorn back then, with the BJP securing the seat.
Supriyo, which had bagged a 36.75 per cent vote share in 2014, retained the Paschim Bardhaman constituency in 2019 by increasing its vote share to 51.16 per cent. The TMC, however, made a steady and robust recovery in the industrial belt in the 2021 assembly polls as it bagged five of the seven assembly seats in the area.
However, soon after the 2021 assembly polls in West Bengal, Supriyo left the BJP and joined the Mamata Banerjee-led party, resigning as the Asansol Lok Sabha member, which necessitated the bypolls.
Asansol bypoll victory is a huge victory for TMC, which had tasted electoral success in different pockets of the state, but never been able to win from Asansol previously.