West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress secured a comfortable majority in the Sabang Assembly constituency by-poll. Trinamool candidate Gita Rani Bhunia won with a massive margin of 64,172 votes over her nearest rival Rita Mondal of the Left Front backed Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) candidate.
TMC candidate got 1,06,179 votes, CPI-M candidate secured 41,987 votes, while Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) aspirant Antara Bhattacharyya was in the third spot with 37,476 votes.
Amid a continuous downslide popularity over the past few years,the by-poll offered an opportunity for the CPI-M, which contested the seat for the first time as the Left Front, during its 34 year rule, had fielded Biplobi Bangla Congress candidates.
The Congress, which won the seat in last year's assembly polls, fared poorly, with its nominee Chiranjib Bhowmick in the fourth position securing 18,060 votes.
The by-poll was necessitated due to sitting Congress legislator Manas Bhunia's resignation, after he crossed over to the Trinamool. He is now a Rajya Sabha member of his new party.
Voting for the by-election that took place on December 21 witnessed 74.89 percent polling.
The opposition CPI(M) and BJP had accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of driving away their election agents from the polling booths, which was denied by TMC leader and Rajya Sabha MP Manas Bhunia.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh criticized TMC for resorting to terror during the polls.
The TMC has fielded Gita Rani Bhunia, wife of former Congress leader Manas Bhunia, who had defected to the ruling party earlier this year, necessitating the by-election.Manas Bhunia is presently TMC MP in the Rajya Sabha. The winning margin of Gita Rani in this by-poll surpassed Bhunia's victory margin of over 49,000 votes as a Left-backed Congress candidate in the 2016 Assembly polls.