Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made deep inroads in West Bengal, increasing its vote share by more than 20 percentage points from 17.02% in 2014 to about 39% (till 1 pm) and was leading in 16 of Bengal’s 42 seats against their 2014 tally of only two seats.
Though ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) increased its vote share by about 5 percentage points to about 45% (till 1 pm) from 39.79% (in 2014), the party was leading in 25 seats against their tally of 34 five years ago.
“Congratulations to the winners. But all losers are not losers. We have to do a complete review and then we will share our views with you all. Let the counting process be completed fully and the VVPATs matched,” tweeted Mamata Banerjee.
A significant development in Bengal was the reduction of the Left and the Congress into fringe forces. While the Left managed a vote share of a shade below 7%, the Congress dipped to below 6%.
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“BJP has succeeded in consolidating the groundswell of sentiments against the TMC in its favour. The BJP and TMC will be only significant political forces in Bengal for the time being,” said psephologist Biswanath Chakraborty, a professor of political science at Rabindra Bharati University.
The same trend was seen in the Assembly by-elections in eight seats. At 1 pm, BJP was leading in four, TMC in three and the Congress was marginally above TMC in one.
Bengal Congress heavyweight Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury managed to take a comfortable lead to move towards a fifth term in the Lok Sabha.
The biggest casualty in this election was the Left parties, the voteshare of which was as much as 29.95% in 2014.
“Left voters have consciously voted for BJP because they knew only a Modi regime at the Centre could end TMC’s fascist rule in Bengal,” said BJP Rajya Sabha MP Roopa Ganguly. “The end of Mamata regime is a matter of time now,” she added.
Political analysts said that the results could have serious implications on the state’s Assembly elections due in 2021.
In 2009, the TMC got 19 seats and eventually came to sweep the Left out of power in 2011.
Among prominent leaders, both of the union ministers of state from Bengal – BJP’s Babul Supriyo and S S Ahluwalia were leading by comfortable margins. TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, and TMC’s leader in the outgoing Lok Sabha Sudip Banerjee were leading by comfortable margins, too.
On the other hand, senior TMC minister Subrata Mukherjee was trailing by more than 20,000 votes by 12 noon.
Earlier, several BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi had repeatedly said that dozens of TMC leaders, including MLAs and MPs are in touch with BJP and are waiting for the results of the parliamentary elections to switch camp.
TMC in 2016 Assembly elections won 211 seats of the 294 in the state but later got another 20 MLAs from the Left and the Congress to switch over to it. BJP won only three seats in the 2016 Assembly elections.
TMC leaders were tightlipped. A district unit president who refused to be identified said, “Don’t ask me anything. Only Mamata Banerjee can brief the press today. I have no idea what may happen to my fate as a district president.”
May 23, 2019 13:59 IST
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