If TMC didn’t go solo in Bengal, BJP’s tally would’ve shrunk to 9

The TMC decided to contest alone in January after failed seat-sharing talks.

WrittenBy:Drishti Choudhary
Narendra Modi, Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi.

The BJP has won 12 of West Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats, but the party’s tally could have shrunk to nine had the Trinamool Congress contested in an alliance with other opposition parties, shows an analysis of EC data. 

In January this year, West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee had announced her decision to go solo in the state reportedly after failed seat-sharing talks with the INDIA bloc, especially the Congress. It wasn’t the only setback to the opposition bloc’s attempts to present a united front – JD-U chief Nitish Kumar also made his political somersault to the NDA the same month.

The TMC subsequently surprised pollsters by emerging as the party with the largest number of seats in West Bengal. The Congress contested 12 seats while the Left contested on 30, with two “friendly fights”, but they could manage a vote share of just 10.58 percent together. In contrast, the TMC polled around 45.76 percent of the total votes. The BJP stood at 38.73 percent, a slight dip from the 40.64 percent it polled in 2019.

The three seats that could change, and the three that couldn’t

The 12 seats where BJP won in West Bengal are Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Raiganj, Balurghat, Maldaha Uttar, Ranaghat, Bangaon, Tamluk, Kanthi, Purulia and Bishnupur. 

However, the BJP’s vote share and tally could have reduced further had the TMC joined hands with the opposition bloc: In at least three of the 12 Lok Sabha seats won by the saffron party, the number of votes polled in favour of the BJP is less than those clocked by the TMC and Congress candidates together. These are Maldaha Uttar, Purulia, and Raiganj.

In Raiganj, BJP’s Kartick Chandra Paul won with 5,60,897 votes while TMC’s Kalyani Krishna got 4,92,700 and Congress’s Ali Imran Ramz had 2,63,273 votes. If the two trailing parties had joined hands, their total votes would have been higher than BJP’s by 1,95,076 votes.

In Maldaha Uttar, BJP’s Khagen Murmu won with 5,27,023 votes while TMC’s Prasun Banerjee got 4,49,315 votes and Congress’s Mostaque Alam polled 3,84,764 votes. The saffron party would have lost by a margin of 3,07,056 votes had the TMC and the Congress contested together. 

In Purulia, BJP’s Jyotirmay Singh Mahato emerged victorious with 5,78,489 votes while TMC’s Shantiram Mahato trailed at 5,61,410 votes and Congress’s Nepal Chandra Mahato followed with 1,29,157 votes. The TMC and the Congress together could have defeated the BJP with a margin of 1,12,078 votes.

However, there were three other constituencies where the Congress and TMC were in contest with BJP leaders, and where the BJP’s tally exceeded the votes clocked by the two together. 

One of these was a big margin. In Darjeeling, BJP’s Raju Bista got 6,79,331 votes – over 95,000 more than those polled by TMC's Gopal Lama and Congress’s Munish Tamang.

But the two others had narrow margins, considering that each Lok Sabha constituency has over 10 lakh voters.

In Bangaon, BJP’s Shantanu Thakur got 7,19,505  – just over 8,500 more than the number polled by TMC’s Biswajit Das and Congress’s Pradipkumar Biswas. And in Kanthi, BJP’s Soumendu Adhikari got 7,63,195 – around 16,000 more than those clocked by TMC’s Uttam Barik and the Congress candidate.

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