New Delhi: A day after drubbing in Howrah Lok Sabha by-election, the Congress on Thursday sought to attribute the Trinamool Congress's win to a "nexus between Mamata Banerjee's party and the BJP", saying it was the latter's "gift" to Banerjee for walking out of the UPA. The party claimed that the BJP withdrew its candidate at the last moment in favour of Banerjee's party.
"This is BJP's gift to Mamata for walking out of UPA. BJP withdrew its candidate at the last moment from the seat in favour of Banerjee's party. Had the BJP candidate contested the poll, her candidate would not have won," said the AICC in-charge for West Bengal Shakeel Ahmed.
Ahmed, who is also the party spokesperson, alleged that West Bengal BJP President Rahul Sinha had even issued an appeal to people not to vote either for the CPI-M or the Congress. "When a party does not field a candidate in elections and issues appeals not to vote against some particular parties barring one, it means the party is supporting a particular party," he said.
In the lone Lok Sabha by-poll in Howrah in West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress retained the seat with a margin of over 27,000 votes defeating the nearest CPI(M) rival. The Congress settled at the third spot.
Congress candidate Sanatan Mukherjee was polled 96,727 votes. The seat had fell vacant following the death of Trinamool Congress MP Ambika Banerjee. The Trinamool Congress has held that the result prove that people reposed their faith on the performance of Mamata Banerjee government in the past two years.