Saffron surge breaches Mamata bastion
Mamata Banerjee-ruled West Bengal could not remain immune to the saffron surge that swept the country on Thursday, as the BJP demonstrated a spectacular performance in the Lok Sabha elections in the state where it hardly counted so far.
In the state where 42 Lok Sabha seats were at stake, there was a neck-and-neck race, with the BJP emerging victorious in 18 constituencies and Trinamool Congress (TMC) winning 22.
The BJP had won just two seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, while the Trinamool had bagged 34.
The saffron party's vote share has recorded a massive jump from 17.02 per cent in 2014 to 40.25 per cent, as per the Election Commission's data.
The TMC's vote share also recorded a marginal increase from 39.79 per cent to 43.33 per cent.
The CPM-led Left Front, which ruled the state for 34 years from 1977 to 2011, has bagged little over 7 per cent vote share but failed to open an account. It had won two seats in 2014.
Congress, whose performance has been poor this election, has managed to win two seats as against four last time. Its vote share is 5.61 per cent this time.
The state saw the most bitter election campaign between the Trinamool and BJP.
Addressing party workers here late on Thursday, BJP President Amit Shah said: "Even after so much of violence and rigging, BJP won 18 seats in West Bengal. It tells that in the coming days, BJP will establish its might in West Bengal."
The state, where the polling was spread over all the seven phases, witnessed widespread violence throughout the elections, because of which the Election Commission had to take the unprecedented step of curtailing campaign by a day.
The authorities had to impose section 144 in Bhatpara. Violent scenes were seen with bombs been thrown and vehicles been set on fire the North 24 Parganas district before the Election Commission imposed prohibitory orders.
Last week, a statue of Bengal reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalised at BJP chief Amit Shah's rally in Kolkata. Trinamool and BJP blamed each other for the violence.
A day later, the Election Commission invoked Article 324 of the Constitution to prohibit campaigning in nine constituencies of West Bengal until the conclusion of the Lok Sabha polls on May 19. IANS