Kolkata: The longest-ever West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021, held in eight phases, ended on April 29 under the shadow of a raging COVID-19 pandemic and the judgement day is here.
While Mamata Banerjee’s TMC (Trinamool Congress) will be eager to overcome the anti-incumbency factor and come to power for a third uninterrupted term, the BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) will be trying to build on the big advances it made during the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 in the eastern state.
The counting of votes for the West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 started at 8 am on Sunday. The Election Commission of India (ECI) gives frequent updates on its official website http://results.eci.gov.in.
Notably, the election took place in eight phases in West Bengal between March 27 and April 29. A three-tier security arrangement is in place in the state’s 108 counting centres and at least 292 observers have been appointed and 256 companies of central forces positioned around 23 districts of the state.
TMC VS BJP
Strong grassroots organisation, Mamata Banerjee’s popularity and fighting spirit, strong backing of Muslims, governance experience in Bengal, Anti-CAA stance are some of the leading factors which can lead the victory for Didi in the state. However, some elements such as corruption, monopoly of state power, political violence anti-incumbency, disenchantment of neutral voters can cause a great trouble for TMC. BJP’s inclining graph since 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, voter polarisation and PM Modi’s popularity may give a tough a fight for TMC.
Talking about BJP, PM Modi’s popularity, organisational support from RSS, growing support for the party, voter polarisation can help the saffron party to make its mark in Bengal.
Exit polls have been divided over the final result, with some giving only a thin edge to TMC. However, they all agree on one thing — the contest in West Bengal will be close and a win for either TMC or BJP can be a matter of thin margins.
Apart from the Axis My India-India Today and the Republic-CNX exit polls, which gave the BJP an edge in the battleground state, all other surveys, including the CVoter Exit Poll for Times Now/ABP News, forecast a third victory for the Trinamool, putting it ahead in the 294-member Assembly.
However, the survey of Axis My India-India Today, whose predictions in the 2019 General Elections had shown the BJP gains in the state, again gave the party its first-ever victory in the state elections. According to it, the BJP could end with 134-160 seats, the Trinamool with 130-156, and the Left with a mere 0-2. On the other hand, the P-MARQ survey gave the Trinamool 152-172 seats, the BJP 112-132, and the Left 10-20. The NewsX-Polstrat gave the Trinamool 152-162 and the BJP 111-125 seats.
The ETG Research poll gave Banerjee's party 164-176, the BJP 105-115 and the Left 10-15 seats. CVoter gave Trinamool 152-164, the BJP 109-121 and the Left 14-25. The Republic-CNX poll, however, showed a BJP victory, giving it 138-148 seats, with 128-132 for the Trinamool and 11-21 for the Left.
Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, who is seeking her re-election for the third straight term as the Chief Minister, has left no stone unturned in putting up a strong battle against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has emerged as the main candidate with its aggressive campaigning in the run-up to the state polls.
The battle between Suvendhu Adhikari and incumbent CM Mamata Banerjee in the Nandigram seat will be one of the fights to watch out for. A decade ago, the protest against land acquisition in Nandigram was one of the key topics that had hurled Didi to power in the state.
Here are some of the key candidates in the poll fray to look out for:
· Mamata Banerjee
· Suvendhu Adhikari
· Locket Chatterjee
· Babul Supriyo
· Minakshi Mukherjee
· Aishe Ghosh
· Humayun Kabir
The result that will finally come on Sunday late night will decide whether Mamata Banerjee, who has been in power for 10 years and is arguably fighting the toughest election of her political career, has been able to prevent the challenge by the battle-hardened election military of the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.