Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has managed to retain power in West Bengal after one of the most aggressively communal electoral battles in the history of the state. But the electorate stood united and rewarded Mamata Banerjee another term with a vote share of nearly 50 percent!
This is huge given how vote share in each constituency won is a crucial indicator of how Banerjee was chosen by not just the minority community, but all secular-minded people from different faiths. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that ran a deeply communal campaign, openly calling Banerjee “Begum”, alluding to her alleged pro-minority bias, appears to have failed in dividing the people on the basis of religion.
Banerjee’s TMC has not only won seats in constituencies with large population of people hailing from the minority community, like Bashirhat (Uttar and Dakshin), Deganga, Islampur, and Kasba, but also in urban centres, mixed neighbourhoods, and constituencies with a larger population from the majority community. Some of TMC’s most significant victories in such seats are from Dum Dum, Howrah (Uttar, Dakshin and Madhya), Jadavpur, Kharagpur, Kolkata Port among others.
There are 294 seats in the West Bengal Assembly and the majority mark stands at 148. Since candidates in two constituencies died of Covid during the elections, by-elections have been scheduled. There. Thus, on May 2 results were only declared for 292 constituencies. But the declaration of results took a long time as the Election Commission website kept updating results way past midnight. In fact, even on Monday morning, results for only 288 constituencies were updated before 9 A.M.
At 9 A.M on May 3, the morning after counting should have concluded, TMC had won 210 seats and was leading on 3 more. Though the BJP appears to have improved its tally from a miniscule three in 2016 to 76 (leading on one more) this time, it is still not enough for the party to claim that they have found the pulse of the electorate.
All results were officially declared only at about 2 P.M on May 3, 2021. According to the final tally TMC had won 213 seats, BJP got 77, while an independent candidate and the Rashtriya Secular Majlis Party won one seat each.
The Nandigram Mystery
The battle for Nandigram was long drawn out and remained a close call till the very end. While from early afternoon to late evening, it showed Suvndu Adhikari had won with a margin of over 9,000 votes, at 8:50 P.M the Election Commission suddenly showed that Mamata Banerjee was ahead by 1453 votes. Then late at night the results were declared and Adhikari was shown to have won by 1956 votes.
While a recount was demanded by TMC, the request was denied. Here’s a copy of TMC’s complaint to the Chief Electoral Officer: