Seven By-polls, One Pointer
by Dipankar Bhattacharya

Results of the September 5th by-polls are out. On the face of it, there is no change in the overall tally: NDA 3, INDIA 4. But, a closer look would reveal that a lot has changed underneath. And the biggest change has happened in UP – the state that sends the largest number of members to the Lok Sabha. By-polls were held in Ghosi (Uttar Pradesh), Dumri (Jharkhand), Dhupguri (West Bengal), Bageshwar (Uttarakhand), Puthupally (Kerala), Boxanagar and Dhanpur (Tripura).

The Ghosi by-poll was caused not by death, but by defection. The erstwhile SP MLA had defected to the BJP and was seeking re-election on the BJP's ticket. Backing him was the fullest might of the Modi-Shah-Yogi 'double engine' dispensation. By defeating the BJP, the people of Ghosi have thus defeated the all-powerful Yogi regime, and the emphatic margin of the defeat has only delivered the message louder.

Dumri in Jharkhand was also quite a tough contest. In 2019, JMM stalwart Jagannath Mahato had an easy victory as the BJP and AJSU had both contested. This time round AJSU had the total backing of the BJP, which in turn enjoyed the support of the erstwhile JVM led by Babulal Marandi. Considering the demands of the situation, Giridih district unit of Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation plunged energetically into the election campaign in support of the JMM. The defeat of the BJP-AJSU combine is therefore a shot in the arm for the entire INDIA camp in Jharkhand.

Let us also take note of the Dhupguri by-poll in West Bengal where the TMC managed to defeat the BJP in a close contest. In 2021, the BJP had swept the polls in North Bengal, but the tide seems to be turning.

CPIML Campaign for INDIA Candidates in Byelections

The CPIML conducted intense campaigns in support of the SP candidate in Ghosi (UP) and the JMM candidate in Dumri (Jharkhand) in the by-elections held on September 5th. Party’s UP Secretary Sudhakar Yadav held a press conference in Lucknow to declare support for Samajwadi Party candidate in Ghosi. CPIML activists in Ghosi held door-to-door campaigns in large parts of the constituency, with party flags and banners using their own resources and dozens of villages were covered by the ML teams. They organised election meetings in villages which were attended by a good number of villagers. CPIML state standing committee member Om Prakash Singh campaigned in the Amila area and addressed three election meetings. CPIML cadres along with their banners and flags also joined the main election meeting addressed by SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav. There was a visible anti-BJP sentiment throughout the constituency particularly among the Dalits and most backward caste communities.

CPIML campaign highlighted the continuing attacks on the Constitution, democracy and Yogi’s bulldozer raj. People were asked to vote against the rising unemployment, price rise, inequality and corruption, and to defeat the divisive forces of hatred and bigotry. Comrade Sudhakar said that the party's campaign against saffronisation of polity, attacks on freedom of expression and loot of country’s resources to crony capitalists will continue in the coming months.

In Dumri  (Jharkhand), CPIML conducted a full-fledged campaign in support of INDIA Alliance candidate JMM’s Baby Mahato. Many teams were spread throughout the constituency visiting village to village to ensure the victory of the JMM candidate. In eastern part of the Dumri block CPIML Politburo member and MLA Vinod Singh with other leaders, including Parmeshwar Mahato and Pawan Mahato conducted booth to booth mass contact in many villages, including Isri Bazar, Hethnagar, Shankardih, Paharpur and Pauraiya. Another team with women leaders led by CPIML CC member Gita Mandal campaigned in Simarbedha, Paharidhar, Ghutbali, Puranidih, Borvapani, Asurbandh, Gurutand and Pordag Bazar. Punam Mahato, Khagiya Devi, Sarita Mahato and Nageshwar Mahato were also in this team. Another team took responsibility for the village cluster that included Bhavanand, Suiyadih, Barahganda, Parasbedha, etc. This was led by Mustakim Ansari, Ali Asgar, Bablu Khan, Kamaruddin Ansari and others. Mukhiya Sangh Chairperson and AIPWA leader Sarita Sao led a team that campaigned in Kalhabar panchayat and JLSPS.

A huge motorcycle rally was taken out on September 2nd from Tiranga Mor to KB Mor which was led by Bagodar MLA Comrade Vinod Singh. CPIML leaders addressed many big mass meetings organised independently as well as jointly with other parties.

Marxist Coordination Centre (MCC) also supported INDIA Alliance candidate in this constituency. MCC General Secretary Haldhar Mahato said that Jagarnath Mahato, whose untimely death led to this bye-election, was a staunch fighter for the cause of Jharkhand. He was among the most vocal advocates for the implementation of the state's domicile policy based on the 1932 Khatiyan register.

A large part of this constituency witnessed independent campaigns by the CPIML and MCC leaders and activists. This energised the overall atmosphere in favour of the JMM candidate. The victory processions organised at many places in the constituency were attended by CPIML, MCC, JMM and Congress leaders and activists.

Seven By-polls, One Pointer