Kolkata: At a time when the stunned and battered Left front in West Bengal is desperately looking for answers for their huge setback, everyone must be wondering about the reasons of Mamata Banerjee’s success story. Here is why she won.
Mamata’s poll promise strikes a fine balance between the aspirations for agriculture, industry and the state's development, experts say, resulting in a landslide victory for Trinamool Congress.
Mamata Banerjee capitalised on the fear of farmers that they would lose their land to industry. At the same time she also managed to assure the investors that their interests would not be overlooked.
Banerjee successfully projected her as a leader of the poor and a friend of minorities.
This was precisely the reason Trinamool Congress could able to bag 184 out of 294 Assembly seats.
In Junglemahal (Maoist heartland), Mamata played her cards well by carving out a ‘development’ path. She denounced individual killings on one hand, raised her voice against the operation Green Hunt and said that common people were being harassed.
In the Maoist-hit districts of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura which account for 40 seats, Trinamool Congress managed to win 21 seats, thanks to Banerjee's tireless efforts in mobilising her support base. Remember, the party did not get a single seat in 2006 elections.
The anti-CPI(M) wave in the red bastion of Burdwan district, known as the rice bowl of the state, yielded 15 of the 25 seats to the Trinamool, while the Congress got one. In the 2006 Assembly elections, the Trinamool won only two seats.
In North Bengal where Trinamool Congress was relatively weaker than the Left Front and its coalition partner Congress, Mamata played a development card. She inaugurated various railway projects and flagged off a number of trains to improve the region's connectivity.
The result: The Trinamool which held only the Dinhata Assembly seat from North Bengal in the 2006 elections managed to bag 16 of the 54 seats from the region, while its ally Congress won 17.
Similarly, the Trinamool tasted huge success in South Dinajpur district bagging five of the six seats. Its candidate in Siliguri Rudranath Bhattacharya defeated CPI(M) heavyweight Ashok Bhattacharya who is popularly know as chief minister of West Bengal.
In an indication that Mamata Banerjee's slogan for change has caught the fancy of urban voters, the Trinamool Congress made a clean sweep in Kolkata and adjoining Howrah district where the Left Front drew a blank.
While the party won all the 11 seats in Kolkata, it won 15 of the 16 seats in the second largest urban hub of Howrah, with the Congress winning the remaining one.
The near complete sweep was also witnessed in Hooghly district that remained a Left citadel for decades, but the movement against land acquisition in Singur for the Tata Motors project gave the Trinamool a major boost in the past few years and triggered off an erosion in the Left support base.
Trinamool bagged 16 out of 34 seats in Hooghly district. In 2006 election the party has won only two seats from the districts.
In the North and South 24-Parganas districts adjoining Kolkata, the backbone of Trinamool Congress support base in South Bengal, Left efforts of recovery were dealt a heavy blow with Trinamool maintaining a winning spree.
Notwithstanding the Left's criticism of alleged corruption in the Trinamool Congress-led South 24-Parganas zilla parishad, the party won 26 of the 28 seats it contested in the district. In 2006 it won only four seats.
Similar was the picture in North 24-Parganas where the Left faced a rout as the Trinamool Congress won 28 out of 33 seats in the district. The Left won only four seats against 24 it won in 2006.
With PTI inputs
First Published: Sunday, May 15, 2011, 00:09