The BJP bagged almost three times the election duty votes that the TMC got in West Bengal, Election Commission data has shown, indicating the state government employees chose the saffron party over the Mamata Banerjee-led outfit, who not long ago compared them to barking dogs.
The Bharatiya Janata Party received 73,541 votes through postal ballots as compared to the Trinamool Congress, which got only 25,791 votes. The Left Front got around 7,377 votes, the Congress about 5,770 votes and there were 5,143 NOTA votes.
The state government employees and security personnel deployed in election duty cast their votes through postal ballots. “This is on expected lines. The security personnel in the state have all voted for the BJP and the state government employees have been upset with Mamata Banerjee over the dearness allowance issue for a long time. We were counting on their votes,” said Kalicharan Shaw, a state BJP leader.
In September 2017, while addressing a meeting of state government employees, Banerjee had used the words “gheu gheu”, the vernacular equivalent of the sound of a barking dog, while slamming government employees demanding a raise in Dearness Allowance (DA). It seems the employees have held onto the grudge.
The issue of payment of DA to the state government employees had dragged in the State Appellate Tribunal (SAT) at Calcutta High Court for a long time. In January this year, Banerjee announced that the state government would clear all pending Dearness Allowance for state employees benefitting around eight lakh people.
The BJP in West Bengal breached the impregnable fortress of the TMC supremo by winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats and grabbing a vote share of 40.5 per cent.
Up from the two seats and 17 per cent vote share it had in 2014, the BJP not only pulled through an unprecedented victory here, but also took a lead in around 130 assembly segments of the state in terms of vote share. The legislative assembly polls are scheduled to be held in 2021.