West Bengal Lok Sabha Election Results 2019: Accounting for 42 seats, West Bengal is one of the states where the BJP had kept its focus all of the past five years. That dogged determination seems to be paying handsomely as the saffron party bagged 18 seats, successfully making inroads in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s bastion. The ruling party, on the other hand, secured 22 seats while the remaining two went to Congress. In 2014, the TMC’s tally was 34 while the BJP and Left Front had managed to secure only two seats. Congress had won four.
Taking to Twitter, Banerjee said, “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.”
Calling it a “death knell” for the TMC government in the state, BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh said Banerjee should no longer dream of becoming prime minister, rather she should be concerned about saving her chief minister’s chair. “The people of Bengal has given a verdict against TMC and its misrule in Bengal. The TMC has lost the moral right to continue in office. The people want to get rid of this government,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
Follow West Bengal Election Results 2019 HIGHLIGHTS here.
“People have given her a befitting reply for her arrogance. The way the opposition candidates and leaders were heckled, beaten up by TMC goons is unprecedented. The way TMC had conducted panchayat polls is a dark spot on democracy,” he added.
In 2009, the Trinamool Congress had swept the Bengali heartland and outwitted the Left Front by securing 19 seats in the Lok Sabha polls. While the CPM bagged nine seats, Congress recorded a win in six constituencies. The remaining eight were bagged by other candidates.
Mamata Banerjee interview: ‘Hinduism is very liberal… They made Jai Shri Ram a political slogan, but Ram does not just belong to BJP’
Mindful that the BJP had become a real threat, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee ran a fierce campaign targeting the saffron party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party’s battle is with the BJP in most places and with the Left in a handful. Exit polls have predicted a marked decline in the fortunes of the ruling party. The BJP is expected to register a surge in its vote share, according to pollsters in the eastern state.
In order to establish itself as a credible alternative, the saffron party is trying hard to make forays into the TMC stronghold, particularly in the south. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed rallies in Dum Dum, Diamond Harbour, Mathurapur and Basirhat constituencies. Of the four seats, the BJP won three of them in 1998 and 1999. This was the only seat that the BJP had in Bengal before 2009. The BJP, this time, has fielded Shamik Bhattacharya, a former MLA against TMC’s veteran sitting MP Sougata Roy.
On its part, the TMC left no stone unturned to ensure that the anti-incumbent sentiment has not spread in its own backyard. In Jadavpur and Basirhat, it has fielded two young actors of Tollywood – Mimi Chakraborty in Jadavpur against BJP’s Anupam Hazra, a sitting MP and TMC defector and Nusrat Jahan against BJP’s state general secretary Sayantan Basu. Currently, both Nusrat and Mimi are leading by over two lakh votes in their respective constituencies.
In Kolkata, the results in nine seats will determine the voting pattern of the urban middle-class population. In 2014, the anti-incumbency was evident in all the nine constituencies after the TMC and Left registered a decline in their vote share while the BJP registered a surge.
Meanwhile, amid the Mamata vs Modi binary, the Congress and Left Front are also trying to maintain its vote share in certain areas in the state. While the Congress is trying to protect its strongholds in Malda and Murshidabad, the Left is looking forward to stage a turnaround in Birbhum and Burdwan, its old bastions which later fell to the TMC. In 2016, the Left had marginally increased its vote share in Dum Dum and Rajarhat-Gopalpur but then, it had fought the elections in alliance with the Congress.
This year, the opposition parties have made the National Register of Citizens and infiltration the major poll planks. Although the NRC is being conducted in Assam, it has become a key issue in Bengal for the BJP and TMC due to the presence of Bangladeshi refugees in the state. The BJP has accused the TMC of turning Bengal into a safe haven for infiltrators.
Among the key candidates and constituencies are TMC’s film celebrity nominees Moon Moon Sen in Asansol, Nusrat Jahan in Basirhat and Mimi Chakraborty in Jadavpur. Sen is pitted against BJP candidate minister Babul Supriyo. Chakraborty is contesting CPI(M)’s Bikash Bhattacharya and BJP’s Anupam Hazra who had defected from the TMC.
BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha is contesting from Kolkata North seat while Dilip Ghosh has been fielded from Medinipur. CPI(M)’s sitting MP Mohammad Salim will fight against Congress’s former Union minister Priyaranjan Das Munshi’s wife Deepa Das Munshi from Raiganj. Trends show the ruling TMC leading in both the Kolkata North and South seats.
TMC’s former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, who had won the Barrackpore seat twice, is contesting and leading ahead of former TMC and now BJP candidate Arjun Singh.
Two-time Congress MP from Malda North constituency Mausam Noor and niece of former Congress minister Ghani Khan Chowdhury is representing the seat as a TMC candidate this time.
Former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, who was considered to share close ties with Mamata but recently defected to the BJP, is fighting from the Ghatal constituency. She is pitted and trailing present TMC MP and actor Dev.
Unlike previous years, the Election Commission decided to conduct polling in seven phases this time. In 2009 and 2014, voting was held in maximum five phases. Taking down on the ruling party, the Opposition claimed that the poll body’s decision only threw light on the deteriorating law and order situation in Bengal. However, the TMC claimed that the multi-phase elections will not hamper the poll prospects in its heartland.
For the first time in the history of polls, the Election Commission curtailed campaigning by in nine seats by 20 hours and invoked Article 324 of the Constitution after clashes between the TMC and BJP during BJP chief Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata turned violent last week. A statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was also vandalised during the incident.
With 42 seats in the state, 10 are reserved for Scheduled Caste and two for Scheduled Tribes. Bengal sends 16 Rajya Sabha members. It has 295 Assembly constituencies and the state voted for its government in May 2016.