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By-polls: BJP makes inroads into WB Assembly, TMC retains Chowringhee

Kolkata: BJP today made its debut in the West Bengal Assembly by winning the Basirhat Dakshin seat while Trinamool Congress retained the prestigious Chowringhee seat.

After 15 long years, the BJP will have a representative in the West Bengal assembly. Party candidate Shamik Bhattacharya won the Basirhat (South) seat in the bypolls, while the state's ruling party Trinamool retained the Chowringhee seat.

Bhattacharya defeated Trinamool candidate and former soccer captain Dipendu Biswas in a hard-fought battle by a slender margin of over thousand votes.

The constituency in North 24-Parganas district had elected Left Front major CPI-M candidate Narayan Mukherjee, emerging triumphant despite rout in the 2011 assembly polls. Mukherjee's death necessitated the bypoll.

But continuing its poor show in the state, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) candidate Mrinal Chakrabarty finished third. Congress candidate Asit Majumdar was fourth.

In 1999, Badal Bhattacharya had won the Ashoknagar assembly seat - that too in a by-election. It was the only time in past that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had an MLA in the state. However, the BJP was in alliance with the Trinamool that time.

However, Shamik Bhattacharya is yet to receive a certificate as the Election Commission is looking into an appeal from the Trinamool for a recount.

Chowringhee, in the heart of Kolkata, saw Nayna Bandopadhyay defeat the BJP's Ritesh Tiwari by 14,344 votes. Bandopadhyay, actress wife of Trinamool parliamentary party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay, secured 38,328 votes, while Tiwari got 23,984 votes.

Congress candidate Santosh Pathak was a close third with 23,317 votes.

The CPI-M's Faiaz Ahmed Khan finished with 8,890 votes at the fourth position.

Chowringhee went to the hustings prematurely after the resignation of Trinamool legislator Sikha Mitra, who won the 2011 election but quit the party.

Polling for both the seats was held Sep 13.

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