TMC retains ground; BJP creates history as it grows presence in West Bengal


Kolkata: BJP leader Mukul Roy flashes the victory sign to celebrate party's victory of Lok Sabha election 2019, at state  BJP party headquarters, in Kolkata, Thursday, May 23, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Kolkata: BJP leader Mukul Roy flashes the victory sign to celebrate party’s victory of Lok Sabha election 2019, at state BJP party headquarters, in Kolkata, Thursday, May 23, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Bengal witnessed a saffron surge on Thursday as the BJP inflicted a deadly blow to state’s ruling Trinamool Congress by winning 16 of the 42 LokSabha seats in the state and leading in two other. TMC won 19 seats and was leading in three. The party gave the TMC a run in terms of vote share having polled 40.25 per cent of votes counted so far. The TMC has clinched 43.28 per cent.

The four-party Left Front that ruled the state for 34 years till 2011 could manage a measly 7.8 per cent votes with its candidates losing deposits in all the seats but one. The Congress, however, fared better by bagging two seats with a vote share of 5.61 per cent. The party’s sitting MP from Baharampur in Murshidabad district Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Maldaha South MP Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury managed to retain their respective seats.

In Asansol, Union minister Babul Supriyo defeated Trinamool Congress’s Moon Moon Sen by a whopping margin of 1,97,637 votes. While Supriyo got 6,33,378 votes, Moon Moon Sen polled 4,35,741. BJP’s state unit chief Dilip Ghosh won the Medinipur seat by defeating TMC’s Manas Ranjan Bhunia with a margin of 88,952 votes. Ghosh secured 6,85,433 votes and Bhunia got 5,96,481. Bengali superstar Deepak Adhikari, was re-elected from the Ghatal seat on a Trinamool Congress ticket. He defeated former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, the BJP candidate, by 1,07,973 votes. Khalilur Rahman of Trinamool Congress won the Jangipur seat by a margin of 2,45,782 votes. He defeated BJP’s Mafuja Khatun. Interestingly, the sitting MP of the Congress, Abhijit Mukherjee, son of former President Pranab Mukherjee, was relegated to the third spot with 2,55,836 votes.

Union minister S S Ahluwalia, BJP’s sitting MP from Darjeeling who was shifted to the Burdwan-Durgapur seat this time, won the elections by a slender margin of 2,439 votes. He defeated Trinamool Congress’s Mamtaz Sanghamita. In Darjeeling, Raju Bista of BJP defeated TMC’s Amar Singh Rai by a massive margin of 4,13,443 votes. Actor Mimi Chakraborty, who was pitched in Jadavpur by Mamata Banerjee against BJP’s Anupam Hazra, won by a margin of 2,95,239 votes. She bagged 6,88,472 votes, while Hazra managed 3,93,233.

In the Kolkata Uttar seat, TMC’s sitting MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay defeated BJP’s Rahul Sinha by 1,27,095 votes. Debasree Chaudhuri of the BJP defeated TMC’s Kanaialal Agarwal by 60,574 votes in Raiganj, once a bastion of the Congress. Sitting CPI(M) MP Mohammed Salim was decimated to the third position, while late Congress stalwart Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi’s wife Deepa Dasmunsi came fourth. BJP’s Arjun Singh wrested the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat from Trinamool Congress’s Dinesh Trivedi in a fiercely fought poll battle by a margin of 14,857 votes. Singh bagged 4,72,994 votes, while Trivedi, the former railway minister, could manage 4,58,137 votes. In Bangaon, which has a sizeable number of Matua votes, BJP’s Shantanu Thakur defeated Trinamool Congress’s Mamata Thakur by a margin of 1,11,594 votes. BJP’s Subhas Sarkar won the Bankura seat, defeating state minister Subrata Mukherjee, a veteran politician, by 1,74,333 votes.

The results seem to have shocked the TMC leadership, who declined to comment. As the trends indicated a setback for Banerjee, her residence at Kalighat and party headquarters off E M Bypass wore an abandoned look. The TMC had clinched 34 seats with 39.65 per cent of votes in 2014. Though the Left front pocketed 29.71 per cent votes, it could manage just two seats. The BJP, which was then considered a marginal player, had secured two seats with 17.02 per cent votes, and the Congress four seats, polling 9.58 per cent votes. Though Banerjee did not hold the planned presser, she took to Twitter to congratulate the winners. “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 match,” she tweeted.