Historic sweep powered by Mamata

Trinamool Congress chief most popular among CM aspirants, more popular than her government; women her stronger supporters than men

Written by Jyoti Mishra , Asmita Aasaavari | New Delhi | Updated: May 22, 2016 3:35 pm
mamata banerjee, mamata banerjee win, west bengal, west bengal election results, west bengal election analysis, west bengal news, mamata banerjee win analysis, india news, indian express For over a third of voters, Didi better than even Jyoti Basu

In West Bengal, the rise of the Trinamool Congress and corresponding decline of the Left Front have been accompanied by the rise of personal leadership — almost amounting to a personality cult — of Mamata Banerjee. Her mercurial style, determination to fight the Left, and complete control over the party and government in the past five years testify to this personalisation of political power. And the Bengali voter does not seem to mind.

Read | Poor dump Left for Trinamool, Muslims solidly behind Didi

The TMC’s victory — and its scale — would not have been possible had it not been for Banerjee’s leadership. As per the findings of Lokniti’s post-poll survey for The Indian Express, while most voters (66%) voted either on the basis of their attachment to a particular party or by assessing the local candidate, among the significant few (15%) who said that they voted on the basis of a chief ministerial face, the TMC led the Left-Congress jote by an astounding 60 percentage points. What makes this finding even more significant is that among the 44% who said party was their main consideration, or among the 22% who said that local candidate was their main consideration while voting, the TMC actually trailed the Left-Congress alliance in terms of votes.

bengal table 1
Clearly, the fact that Mamata Banerjee was the only clear Chief Ministerial face in the race, and that the Left-Congress combine did not really go all out in promoting Surjya Kanta Mishra as its CM face, seems to have made a significant difference to the final outcome. When survey respondents were asked who they wanted to see as the next CM, 38% said Banerjee, and only 12% said Mishra. The lead of 26 percentage points over her nearest rival was double that of 2011, when Banerjee led Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee by 13 percentage points.

bengal table 2

The survey also found Banerjee to be slightly more popular than her government. While 57% of respondents said they were satisfied with the performance of the TMC government, a slightly higher 60% expressed satisfaction with Banerjee’s performance as Chief Minister.

Read | Corruption an issue in West Bengal, but development No. 1

Similarly, while 21% expressed complete dissatisfaction with her government’s performance, only 9% said that she herself had performed very badly as CM. This had not been the case in 2011, when Bhattacharjee’s performance as Chief Minister had been rated much more unfavourably than his government’s. While 49% had said they were satisfied with the Left government’s performance, only 34% had expressed satisfaction with Bhattacharjee’s work.

bengal table 3

In fact, such is the popularity of Didi in West Bengal today that when voters were asked who they thought had been the best Chief Minister till date, it was she who emerged on top (37%). Jyoti Basu who was at the helm of affairs for 23 years finished a distant second at 25%, and only 10% favoured Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

bengal table 4

Women, not surprisingly, emerged as one of Mamata’s stronger supporters. More women (62%) saw her as having performed satisfactorily as CM than men (57%). While nearly half the men (48%) saw her as being arrogant and intolerant of criticism, among women, only one-third viewed her similarly; this is because nearly half the women simply refused to answer the question.

Read | West Bengal: Left-Congress alliance weak in arithmetic and chemistry

This relatively more favourable view of Banerjee among women also seems to be reflected in the way men and women voted in the election — with the TMC ending up securing a greater proportion of votes among women than among men, 48 to 42. Also, while among women, the TMC led the Left-Congress by 12 percentage points, among men its margin dropped to just 2 percentage points.

Banerjee’s resounding victory makes her not just stronger in West Bengal, but probably also at the all-India level. That is likely the main takeaway from this verdict.

bengal table

  1. K
    Kaliyug
    May 22, 2016 at 4:34 pm
    Women supported Mamta as per the news article, while girls are getting dragged and raped with total impunity for the criminals who are mostly from Bangla Desh. The Koran is specific that non-believers have no rights, so any crime against Hindu women is fair game.
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      Damaru Prasad
      May 22, 2016 at 1:42 pm
      Delhi fools voted conman Kejriwal and here are Bengali Babus voting a spinster who throws tantrums around and will merely see voters falling into the fire from the frying pan.
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        Damaru Prasad
        May 22, 2016 at 4:43 am
        West Bengal is Delhi.3 if one considers Bihar as Delhi.2. Skewed m consciousness tied India to Congress for decades and Mamta and of course conman Kejriwal are by-products of protracted misrule. This holds good for Tamil Nadu and Kerala election too. Just think of it people voting for Jaya and commies. Kerala has long faced underdevelopment and this explains why at least one of a family is in Gulf. It will take some more time before the m wake up to what Modi is talking about and doing.
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          Kumar
          May 22, 2016 at 9:57 am
          Too many illegal Bangladeshis in WB. The border needs to be sealed and guarded strongly for the good of India. West Bengal, the most prosperous state of all, which generated the highest revenues till 1980, slid down below other states due both to neglect by central govt in the past and the then state Governments. The only chief minister who did something remarkable for West Bengal, was Dr. B. C. Roy. Didi deserves some praise for developmental works. I wish during Didi's rule WB moves forward by leaps and bounds and flow of illegal immigrants becomes negligible. Didi and BJP should forge strong ties to move the state forward. It has so much potential.
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            Dipak
            May 22, 2016 at 4:43 am
            Monkey face Mamata brought in millions of Bangaladeshis Muslims to gain votes. She couldn't care less for India. West Bengal is falling behind in progress and in the end good Bengalis will suffer.
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