The BJP, which had lost some steam after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, has put up a spirited show in the West Bengal Assembly elections this time and has played spoilsport for the opposition Left Front-Congress alliance in more than 70 seats.
Although BJP’s vote share in West Bengal dipped since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from 17.5 per cent to 10.2 per cent in the recently concluded Assembly polls, yet for the first time the party won three seats fighting on its own in the state.
Earlier, BJP had won twice in by-polls and had polled around 4.06 per cent votes in 2011.
Statistics and BJP’s vote percentage would bring smiles on the faces of the party’s state leadership, which had lost much of its steam in the last two years.
In this Assembly polls, BJP has not only garnered around 56 lakh votes, up from 19.5 lakh in 2011, it has made its presence felt in 262 out of 294 Assembly segments where the saffron party polled more than 10,000 votes.
“In 2014, we had secured 17 per cent votes because of the Narendra Modi wave across the country. We didn’t have any organisational base in Bengal. This time there was no such wave. What we have got is because of the organisational strength of our party. The best thing is not just three seats, but we have made our presence felt in maximum seats and have secured second position in seven seats,” BJP state president Dilip Ghosh told PTI.
Apart from Ghosh, who won the Kharagpur Sadar seat by defeating veteran Congress leader and alliance candidate Gyan Singh Sohanpal, BJP won Malda’s Baishnabnagar seat and Madarihat seat in North Bengal, both by defeating alliance candidates.
“This will be our base to prepare for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and 2021 Assembly polls. From North Bengal to South Bengal we have increased our vote share and will broaden our base,” Ghosh said.
This time, BJP has secured around 20,000 to 30,000 votes in 66 seats, 30,000 to 40,000 votes in 16 seats and around 40,000 to 50,000 votes in six seats.
“We may not have won many seats but have played spoilsport for both alliance and TMC in many seats. The BJP can no longer be ignored in Bengal,” said a senior BJP leader.
Much to the surprise of many political analysts who had predicted that BJP’s vote share of 2014 would come down drastically and the Left Front-Congress alliance would benefit from it were proven wrong.
As BJP’s vote share dropped from nearly 17.5 per cent in 2014 to 10.2 per cent this time, Trinamool Congress got the benefit in increasing its vote share by six per cent.
BJP has this time sealed the fate of 70 alliance candidates by eating into the opposition vote share and getting around 5,000 to 10,000 votes.
While decoding the reasons behind BJP’s vote share playing a deciding factor, CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra had alleged “It’s quite clear that BJP and TMC had an understanding. In some seats TMC has voted for BJP, while BJP voted for the TMC.”
Another senior Left leader, on condition of anonymity, said, “At grassroots level those Congress and Left workers who didn’t accept the alliance, either voted for NOTA or for the BJP, considering it to be a viable opposition to the TMC. That is why BJP has gained so much votes.”
BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh termed the Assembly election results as satisfactory and hoped it would be a launching pad for the party in Bengal.
“The results are satisfactory, but we could have done better. The victory in a seat like Baishnabnagar in Malda shows there can be consolidation against anti-national elements,” Singh told