The BJP pulled off an unprecedented performance in West Bengal, winning 18 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats. A look at the winning candidates:
John Barla (Alipurduar): A tribal leader from the tea gardens, Barla has earlier fought the Assembly election on a BJP ticket. He has been vocal about his support for Gorkhaland.
Santanu Thakur (Bongaon): A scion of the Matua Thakurbari, the religious fountainhead of the Namashudra sect that holds sway over 1.5 crore Matua voters in Krishnanagar, Ranaghat, Barrackpore, Bongaon, Barasat and Cooch Behar, he defeated his aunt, sitting Trinamool MP Mamata Thakur.
Arjun Singh (Barrackpore): Local strongman and former Bhatpara MLA of TMC, Singh left TMC in a huff just before the Lok Sabha elections after being denied a ticket.
Soumitra Khan (Bishnupur): Khan, a sitting Trinamool MP, joined the BJP earlier this year. In 2014, just before the Rajya Sabha elections, Khan, then a Congress MLA, joined TMC and got a ticket for LS elections.
Raju Bista (Darjeeling): Originally from Manipur, Bista was a corporate executive before he joined BJP and was fielded in Darjeeling instead of sitting MP S S Ahluwalia, who won in Bardhaman-Durgapur. Bista battled the outsider tag and his introductory gaffe — when he had said BJP would win 50 seats in West Bengal (which has 42 seats) — to wrest the seat.
Nisith Pramanik (Cooch Behar): A local businessman and former TMC functionary, he was expelled for anti-party activities and followed Mukul Roy into BJP. He declared in his affidavit that he has 11 pending criminal cases.
Sukanta Majumdar (Balurghat): A professor of Gour Banga University and an old RSS hand, Majumdar trumped sitting Trinamool MP Arpita Ghosh.
Locket Chatterjee (Hooghly): A former television actor, she has been among the earliest faces of BJP in the state. Unlike Trinamool’s clutch of star legislators, she has been in the thick of the political battle for some time now in the state.
Jayanta Kumar Roy (Jalpaiguri): A doctor from Siliguri, he created a scare when it broke late that as a government employee he had to resign to contest elections.
Kunar Hembram (Jhargram): A tribal (seat is reserved for Scheduled Tribes) and an IITian, Hembram is an engineer by profession. Originally from Jamboni, Hembram is credited with the creation of a software for the Alochiki (local dialect) script.
Khagen Murmu (Maldah Uttar): The former Left MLA entered BJP in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls and got the party a win in a constituency with nearly 50 per cent Muslim votes and the legacy of former Congress minister Ghani Khan Chowdhury.
Dilip Ghosh (Medinipur): The BJP state president is a son of the soil. His took the BJP top job after Rahul Sinha brought unprecedented energy into the organisation.
Jyotirmoy Singh Mahato (Purulia): The district general secretary of BJP, Mahato’s ticket was viewed as a reward for his role in the party’s performance in panchayats like Baghmundi and Jaypore.
Debasree Chowdhury (Raiganj): An old RSS hand, Chowdhury had been the chief of BJP Mahila Morcha. She delivered just two speeches during the election campaign, banking instead, on personal contact to trounce Md Salim of the Left and Deepa Dasmunshi of Congress.
Jagannath Sarkar (Ranaghat): The local BJP functionary was a last-minute entry. He battled the sympathy factor for Rupali Biswas, the wife of slain Trinamool MP Satyajit Biswas, to romp home.
Dr Subhash Sarkar (Bankura): A local doctor, Sarkar trumped Trinamool veteran Subrata Mukherjee.
Two MPs of the saffron party from the 16th Lok Sabha were re-elected from the state. S S Ahluwalia won back the Bardhaman-Durgapur seat and Babul Supriyo reclaimed the Asansol seat.