Kolkata: West Bengal saw one of the most fiercely contested Lok Sabha election as the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) faced an aggressive Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). While the actual results will come only on May 23 after votes are counted, exit polls on May 19 after the conclusion of voting in the seven-phase Lok Sabha election 2019 are predicting two different scenarios in West Bengal, which has been a TMC bastion since 2011.
The fight between BJP and the TMC in the 42 seats of the state seems neck-and-neck. While some exit polls say TMC's fort will be intact, other show a massive surge for BJP.
Mamata Banerjee-led TMC is expected to win at least 29 seats in West Bengal, as per IANS-CVoter Exit Poll. Times Now VMR has predicted 11 seats for the BJP, 28 for the TMC, 2 for the Congress and 1 seat for Others. Republic-CVoter says 29 seats for the TMC and 11 seats for the BJP. ABP predicts 24 seats for TMC, 16 seats for BJP and 2 seats for Congress. India Today-Axis Poll gives TMC 19-22 seats, BJP 19-23 seats, and Congress 0-1 seat. Republic-Jan ki Baat has predicted 18 to 26 seats for BJP and 13 to 21 for TMC. News 18-IPSOS says that the TMC is set to retain its grip on Bengal and is likely to get 36-38 seats out of the 42.
It's clearly BJP vs TMC in West Bengal and the Left Front is unlikely to win any seat in the state.
Amidst the exit poll results, which say that the BJP-led NDA will form the government at the Centre with 300+ seats, the fiery leader Mamata Banerjee strongly dismissed the predictions and said, "I don't trust exit poll gossip." She also "appealed to the Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold" against the BJP.
I don’t trust Exit Poll gossip. The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip. I appeal to all Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold. We will fight this battle together
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) May 19, 2019
Bengal saw high-profile campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Amit Shah and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
To add stardust to their political campaign, TMC roped in Bengali actresses Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty as party candidates. While Nusrat is taking her political plunge in 2019, TMC is eyeing its third consecutive win in Jadavpur, from where Mamata, then a feisty young Congress leader, had trounced CPI(M) veteran and noted lawyer Somnath Chatterjee in 1984.
Mamata Banerjee with Mimi Chakraborty during an election campaign (Image courtesy: PTI)
Jadavpur has the highest number of voters in West Bengal. It has 18,16,098 electors, of whom 9,09,061 male, 9,06,962 female and 75 from the third gender.
The campaigning in the seventh phase ended on Friday, a day ahead of its scheduled time on Election Commission's order in the wake of violence between BJP and TMC workers in Kolkata. Parts of the city had witnessed widespread violence during BJP president Amit Shah's roadshow. Also, a bust of 19th century Bengali icon Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar was vandalised during the violence.
Polling in West Bengal took place in 42 constituencies in all the seven phases and a total of 466 candidates were in the fray. Violence and ruckus marred voting across the state in all the phases. However, the voter turnout remained the maximum.