After two months of Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal, all eyes will be on the election results to be declared on Thursday. The time has finally arrived to find out how the major political parties, which have campaigned extensively across 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, have fared in the election.
“There is no reason to be nervous. The people have given their verdict and we have to accept their mandate. We are confident that we will do very well in West Bengal and even better than what the exit poll results have said,” said Bengal BJP president and party’s Midnapore candidate, Dilip Ghosh.
The TMC too appeared confident and hoped to win more seats than its previous tally. “Our party supremo gave a clarion call to win all 42 seats. We are confident that people’s verdict will be in our favour. We don’t believe in exit poll results. We have full faith in the people who have voted for development,” said TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee.
In 2014, the TMC had won 34 seats in Bengal, while the BJP managed just two.
During the 17th Lok Sabha polls in Bengal, both these two parties gave each other a tough competition in organising rallies and public meetings. TMC chief Mamata Banerjee held over 100 public meeting across the state, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah addressed 17 public meetings each. Shah also held a roadshow in Kolkata, which ended in violent clashes between TMC and BJP workers. Congress president Rahul Gandhi too addressed three public meetings here. The Left Front mostly focused on door-to-door campaigning and street-corner meetings.
Besides this, all four major parties focused on social media campaigning and released videos to highlight the achievements and failures of state and central governments.
“The EC must ensure that the counting takes place without any glitch and there should be adequate security to protect the EVMs and counting centres,” said CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra.
However, the seven-phase elections in Bengal was marred by violence. The first two phases in North Bengal districts had witnessed no major incidents of violence. However, since the third phase, there was a rise in political violence with one person being killed in Murshidabad district. As a result, the EC was forced invoke Article 324 to cut short the campaigning in Bengal by 20 hours.
During the election, several state government officials were removed by the poll panel, including state home secretary Atri Bhattacharya. A large number of central forces was deployed to maintain the law and order and provide heightened security at polling stations.
“It was a long election schedule covering two months. Now it is time to accept the people’s mandate whatever be the outcome,” said state Congress president Somen Mitra.