Elections 2021

Mamata pulls off a stunning victory

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on May 02, 2021

Hat trick TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during an interaction with media after her party’s win in the State Assembly Election, in Kolkata   -  Debasish Bhaduri

TMC turncoats let BJP down; Left, Congress are decimated

The Trinamool Congress on Sunday pulled off a stunning victory, with party supremo and Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee leading the way. With a lead/win in 216 seats, Banerjee has defeated the might of the BJP in what many saw as a Modi versus Didi fight.

The BJP has emerged the only Opposition party, leading/winning in 75 seats. The Left Front and the Congress — parties that were previously in power — were decimated, failing to win a single seat. Elections were held in 292 of the 294 seats in the State, where the majority is 148.

 

Sending a congratulatory message, Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh tweeted: “Congratulations to the Chief Minister of West Bengal, @MamataOfficial, Didi on her party’s victory in West Bengal assembly elections. My best wishes to her for her next tenure.”

TMC’s positives

For Trinamool, the positives include not only stopping the saffron juggernaut, but also increasing its seat count and vote share. Vote share increased to 48.4 per cent (as per Election Commission of India data) from around 45 per cent in the 2016 Assembly polls where Banerjee’s party won 211 seats. BJP’s vote share stood at 38 per cent.

New gains for Trinamool

Trinamool made its biggest gains by breaking into the Congress-CPI(M) strongholds of Malda and Murshidabad — two border districts with substantial minority voters.

Of the 20 seats in Murshidabad that went to the polls, the Trinamool is leading in 18 and the BJP in two. Murshidabad is the home turf of Congress’ State president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

Of the 12 seats in Malda, the Trinamool is leading in six, while the BJP has taken a lead in the other six.

The Trinamool has also consolidated its presence across all big districts, including strongholds of Hooghly, North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, Paschim Midnapore and Purba Bardhaman. The BJP was decimated in Kolkata, Howrah, South 24 Parganas and the tribal belt of Jhargram.

Minority-vote consolidation

Political observers point out that Hindu vote consolidation and caste factors have not played out as they were expected to, in favour of the BJP; while there has been a minority-vote consolidation in favour of the Trinamool.

On the other hand, the BJP — which struggled in getting its organisation going — had relied too heavily on turncoats, primarily from the Trinamool, which failed to ring with the people. Most of them have lost.

The other factor which played a key role was the rising second wave of Covid-19 infections and reports highlighting the mismanagement by the Centre. These impacted voting in the last three phases where more than 100 seats went to polls.

Rise of the BJP

Political observers also claim that while the BJP was “going for the jugular” and an “improbable win”, the party's performance in the State was “extremely impressive”.

Starting from scratch in 2011 to a small presence in 2016 when it won three seats; the BJP has emerged as the prime opposition of the State.

The Left Front and the Congress have been decimated in what now appears to be a bipolar election. Strongholds of the Congress — Malda and Murshidabad — have cracked. The Trinamool and the BJP have secured leads there. The Left Front has failed to lead a single seat.

“It’s BJP vs Trinamool and this will be the trend now for many elections. Trinamool took 12 years and a pro-people mandate to defeat the Left. The BJP is looking to do the same in two years and without an organisation at the grassroots and any acceptable regional face. Naturally, the results swung in favour of the Trinamool this time. As for the Left and Congress, they are insignificant,” an analyst said requesting anonymity.

Published on May 02, 2021

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