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Khela ends in Mamata’s triumph

Monday, 03 May 2021 | Saugar Sengupta | Kolkata

But Didi loses Nandigram seat to Suvendu Adhikari

Trinamool Congress’ electoral “Khela” in Bengal ended with the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC on Sunday registering a landslide victory for the third time in-a-row winning 214 seats out of 292 that went to the longest-ever Assembly elections in the State.

TMC surpassed both its voting percentage and number of seats compared with its  performance in 2016.

Challenger BJP, which was expecting to form the Government with200-plus seats, ended up winning just 70 seats while the Left-Congress-ISF alliance came at the distant third with one seat.

Curiously in 2016 elections, the Left-Congress alliance had won 77 seats and were defeated in 70 other seats by narrow margins of 150 to 4,000 votes.

The only unpleasant news in the jubilant TMC camp was the Bengal Chief Minister’s loss to her former colleague and BJP rival Suvendu Adhikari who clinched the Nandigram seat defeating the Trinamool supremo by a wafer-thin margin of 1953 votes. The TMC has asked for a recount.

 Mamata, however, smelled  a rat in the entire proceedings wondering whether the trend in Nandigram could be different from what it was in the rest of Bengal. She said, “I think there is a conspiracy… they did something to ensure my defeat … first they declared that I was winning and then they said that the server was down and then I was told that I had lost by a narrow margin… I think a game was played there in thelast round of countings … I will go to the court challenging thecounting process.”

However, late on Sunday night the Election Commission of India rejected Mamata’s allegation of conspiracy against her in Nandigram.

Nandigram apart, most TMC heavyweights, including veteran Ministers like Subroto Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, Partho Chatterjee, Javed Khan,Arup Biswas, Jyotipriya Mullick, Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, Sadhan Pandey and sitting Mayor-in-council Debashis Kumar registered a comfortable victory over their rivals.

While Biswas defeated Union Minister and BJP candidate Babul Supriyo, Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay won from Bhawanipore the home turf of the Chief Minister herself defeating his BJP rival and TMC turncoat Rudranil Ghosh. Kumar defeated BJP’s Subroto Saha a retired Lt General.

While the TMC made history of sorts winning about 50 percent of votes — the highest polled by it since its birth in 1998 — it also became the only party to win so many seats after 2006 when the Left Front won 234 seats.

In another historical first it is for the first time since Independence that the Left Front failed to find any representation in the State Assembly. The Left leadership however blamed their loss on the “completely polarized atmosphere” in which the elections were fought.

The BJP which secured 18 seats in 2019 Lok Sabha elections and had a lead in 126 Assembly seats securing 39 percent votes was down to about 34 percent votes winning only 70 seats this time round.

The BJP’s loss comes notwithstanding the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Shah addressed and shared 80 rallies between them besides senior leaders like JP Nadda, Rajnath Singh, Yogi Adityanath and Smriti Irani conducting numerous other rallies.

In what is being seen as a lesson learnt by the BJP national leadership that relied too much on the turncoats only three out of the 134 Trinamool defectors that were given saffron nomination could win the elections. The three such leaders are Mukul Roy, Suvendu Adhikari and Mihir Goswami.

Reacting to the TMC’s landslide senior party MP Sougato Roy said “it was a foregone conclusion … the way the central Government, its agencies and the BJP leaders from all over the country were campaigning against a single woman using all kinds of filthy languages against her … this result was bound to happen… the people did not take this insult on Bengal lying down… this was a vote to preserve the Bengali asmita or pride.”

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