Landslide victory for Trinamool in West Bengal

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Kolkata: Belying all expectations, the TMC was headed on Sunday for a landslide victory in assembly

elections, overcoming the might of the BJP after a  bitter campaign that had turned into a virtual duel between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

By evening the trends were clear. Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress had won or was leading in 216 (93 wins and 123 leads) out of 292 constituencies which went to the polls with some 48 per cent of the votes counted so far. Polling was countermanded in two constituencies after candidates fell victim to a raging COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a victory for Bengal’s people  it’s Banglar joy’ (Bengal’s victory),” Banerjee told her party workers. She however, stopped celebrations by her party workers and indicated that her first priority after the victory would be “combating the pandemic” which has been running amok in the state.

The TMC’s main rival, the BJP was stymied in its ambition of winning the state with a total tally of wins and leads in just 74 constituencies (21 wins and 53 leads), with 38 per cent of the votes counted so far. It is far less than the 120 assembly segments where it wrested a majority when it won 18 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 general elections.

The actual results were a bitter let-down for the BJP as the Prime Minister  had staked his prestige in declaring his party was set to win over 200 seats after the first few phases of the unprecedented eight-phase election.

Modi and his Home Minister Amit Shah campaigned extensively throughout the state spending almost every other day of a one-and-a-half month long bruising campaign trying to breach the Trinamool Congress’ fortress Bengal.

The Left Front which ruled West Bengal for 34 long years and the Congress which ruled for nearly two decades before that were, however, the biggest losers as they drew a blank. Analysts said their

voters seemingly deserted them in this bi-polar battle for either the TMC or the BJP as the electorate chose between the two different sets of ideologies on offer.

TMC leaders are now speculating that Banerjee, who has already reached out to other national and regional parties opposed to the BJP, would now try to mount a challenge to the saffron party

in the general elections slated for 2024 by attempting to rally all opposition parties to forge a front against it.

Mamata loses to Suvendu in Nandigram

KOLKATA: Mamata Banerjee on Sunday won a landslide victory in Bengal but lost in a cliffhanger in Nandigram to the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, her former protege.  “I accept the verdict in Nandigram – it is not a big deal. Don’t worry,” said the Chief Minister, declaring, however, that she would approach the court over “mischief”. The yo-yo trends in counting through the day saw Banerjee and Adhikari alternately leading in different rounds, by margins ranging from six to 12,000. AGENCIES