In a major setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party in West Bengal, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress was leading in 31 seats, bucking exit polls predictions, according to ongoing counting for the Lok Sabha elections.  

Most of the exit polls had predicted that the BJP would get more seats than the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the saffron party had secured 18 seats with 40.64 per cent vote share, while Trinamool had bagged 22 seats with 43.69 per cent vote share.

As per the trends till 2 pm, Trinamool Congress was leading in 31 constituencies, while the BJP was leading only in 10 constituencies. The congress was leading in one constituency.

Last time, the Congress had won two seats. The Left did not get a single seat.

For the BJP, its state president Sukanta Majumdar and former state president Dilip Ghosh were trailing from Balurghat seat in North Bengal and Bardhaman-Durgapur seat in South Bengal, respectively. While Ghosh was trailing by over 69,000 votes, Majumdar was trailing by a low margin of around 4300 votes.

In a major jolt, the saffron party’s candidate Rekha Patra was trailing by over 1.5 lakh votes from Basirhat constituency, where TMC’s SK Nurul Islam was leading. Notably, Sandeshkhali falls under the Basirhat LS constituency.

Sandeshkhali, a small island in the Sundarban delta in West Bengal’s North 24-Parganas district, has emerged as an epicentre of a major political storm for the last five months with allegations and counter-allegations between the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state and the BJP heating up the scene. In the alleged violence and sexual harassment against women, a controversial TMC leader is the main accused. The BJP fielded Rekha Patra, one of the alleged victims of the violence, from the seat to take on Islam. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has applauded Patra as “Shakti Swaroopa” (the image of courage).

BJP’s candidate and former Calcutta High Court judge Abhijit Gagopadhyay was leading from Tamluk constituency in South Bengal by over 17,000 votes.

TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, who is seeking re-election from the Diamond Harbour LS seat in South 24 Parganas district, was leading by 4.66 lakh votes.

Trinamool Congress’ firebrand leader Mahua Moitra, who is contesting from Krishnanagar seat against BJP’s Amrita Roy, was leading by a margin of over 49,000 votes.

The LS elections for the 42 constituencies in the state held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1.