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BJP makes massive inroads in West Bengal, Northeast; gives major jolt to Congress, Trinamool Congress

FIle photo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (Courtesy: PTI, AFP) Photograph:( Agencies )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India May 23, 2019, 09.40 PM (IST) Pooja Mehta

The BJP made massive inroads in West Bengal, giving a substantial jolt to the Trinamool Congress in the state. The BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) retained its ground in the Northeast with almost fifteen seats going to the BJP and leaving just four for the Congress.

In Bengal, the Trinamool Congress had bagged as many as 34 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections with a vote share of 39 per cent. While the number of seats for the Trinamool Congress fell alarmingly this election, the vote share shot up to 46 per cent, retaining a 6 per cent gain.

Trinamool Congress’ star candidate Moon Moon Sen from Asansol constituency lost to BJP’s sitting MP Babul Supriyo. Deepak Adhikari (Dev) retained his seat from Ghatal. Two Tollywood actresses fielded from Jadavpur and Basirhat on TMC ticket, Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan, won with a substantial margin defeating BJP and CPI(M) candidates.

While Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee refrained from addressing the press, she took to Twitter and posted, “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.”

On the other hand, the BJP made major inroads in the state almost decimating the Left Front and Congress’ vote bank. While the Left Front could not secure a single seat, the lone survivor of the Congress in the state – Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury - managed to retain the seat with a margin of more than 80,000 votes.

A statement issued by the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) read, “The Indian electorate has given a decisive verdict in the favour of the BJP and its allies. The CPI(M) has suffered a severe setback in these elections. We shall introspect the reasons for this and draw proper lessons for the future.”

For the BJP in West Bengal, the panchayat election results formed a ground for the party to further prosper in the state. BJP leaders in charge - Kailash Vijaywargiya and Mukul Roy - ensured that the party achieves the target set by BJP president Amit Shah of 23 seats in the state. Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh gave the party’s organizational structure a facelift after he took over and travelled across the length and breadth of the state to establish the party’s organisation in each of the districts.

For the final push in the seventh phase of elections, where nine seats including two in Kolkata were to go for polls, two other senior BJP leaders – Sunil Deodhar and Himanta Biswa Sarma - reached the city to encourage the party leaders and workers.

From a 17 per cent vote share in the 2014 elections, it rose to a whopping 40 per cent in this election. Political analysts feel that the diminishing vote share of the CPI(M) contributed to a consolidated vote share of the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The CPI(M) had a vote share of 29 per cent in 2014 and fell to a meagre 7 per cent in this election.

The BJP won major seats in North Bengal – Darjeeling, Raiganj, Alipurduar, Balurghat and others - among several seats in the Western Zones like Purulia and others. While Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh bagged the Midnapore seat, singer-turned-politician Babul Supriyo managed to retain his Asansol seat.

While addressing BJP workers, party president Amit Shah said, “Even after so much violence and rigging, BJP won 18 seats in West Bengal. It tells that in coming days, BJP will establish its might in West Bengal.”

As far as the Northeastern part of India is concerned, political analysts had suggested that the BJP might not do well after the party faced a backlash while trying to push the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). However, the votes polled in favour of the BJP suggested that the push for the Citizenship Amendment Bill did not affect BJP’s electoral gains in the region.

In Assam, BJP candidates won with good margins in seats like Dibrugarh, Guwahati, Nowgong, Jorhat, Lakhimpur, Silchar, Mangaldai and Tezpur. Barpeta seat went to BJP’s electoral ally in Assam – Asam Gono Parishad (AGP). All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF)’s Badruddin Ajmal won the Dhubri seat. Congress managed to secure three seats in Assam with party’s young leader Gaurav Gogoi securing the Kaliabor seat.

The man who engineered BJP’s victory in India’s Northeast and the chairman of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) Himanta Biswa Sarma took a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi saying, “Politics is not meant for Rahul Gandhi. The party should consider giving him an early retirement.”

Story highlights

While the Left Front could not secure a single seat, the lone survivor of the Congress in the state – Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury - managed to retain the seat with a margin of more than 80,000 votes.