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BJP’s Kolkata collapse: Vote share tumbles 20% points in over 6 months

The saffron party secured 38 per cent of the votes in the state elections, the results of which were announced in May. In KMC wards, its vote share was 29 per cent.

Written by Santanu Chowdhury | Kolkata |
December 23, 2021 5:30:51 am
Bengal post poll violence, Dilip Ghosh, West Bengal BJP, TMC, Durga Puja, Kolkata, Kolkata news, Indian express, Indian express newsBJP leader Dilip Ghosh. (File)

The BJP has seen its vote share in areas under the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) nosedive since the Assembly elections earlier this year in which the party had emerged a clear second to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the main Opposition by winning 77 seats.

The saffron party secured 38 per cent of the votes in the state elections, the results of which were announced in May. In KMC wards, its vote share was 29 per cent. However, in the Kolkata civic election results declared on Tuesday, the Opposition party’s vote share was 9 per cent, a downward swing of 20 percentage points in over six months.

While it managed to secure three wards — one more than the Left Front — the BJP’s vote share was below the Left’s 12 per cent. The Left also emerged second in 65 wards, 17 more than the BJP. This indicates that the Opposition party has lost both the momentum it once had and a major chunk of its support base in the metropolis.

The erosion in the BJP’s support base and the defection of several leaders and MLAs to the TMC had reflected in the party’s electoral debacle a couple of months ago in seven constituencies. Five of those were by-elections, and fresh polls were held in two seats where the election had been countermanded in March-April. The saffron party failed to win any of the seven, including two it had won in the Assembly elections.

The Opposition party has also been crippled by a wave of defections to the TMC. MLAs Mukul Roy, Tanmoy Ghosh, Biswajit Das, Soumen Roy and Krishna Kalyani are now in the TMC along with several other high-profile leaders. These legislators have not yet resigned from their posts, and thus the unofficial strength of the BJP in Assembly is now down to 70 from 77.

Asked why the party had failed to build on its success in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in which it received 40 per cent of the votes and won 18 seats, former BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “Widespread violence and booth rigging by TMC are some of the reasons for this result. It is also a fact that the TMC helped the Left to counter the BJP. In many places, TMC leaders helped the CPM open party offices that had been closed. So, it is the strategy of the TMC to strengthen the Left to weaken the BJP.”

TMC MP Saugata Roy said, “We are happy that the Left has got more votes than the BJP because they are not a communal party like the other one. The Left got weakened because of their wrong policies. They had given a slogan Aage Ram, Pore Baam [first, a saffron surge, then the Left). That is why their support base had shifted to the BJP. Now, it is returning to them.”

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