Kolkata: The BJP has made stunning inroads in Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal, with the trends showing a virtual saffron sweep in the state’s northern parts as also the western tribal heartland. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s party managed to hold on to its ground in and around Kolkata and a major chunk of south Bengal.

After close to nine hours of counting, the saffron party was leading in 18 of the 42 seats in the state, up from only two in 2014, while the Trinamool was ahead in 23 seats, 11 down from 34 which it had won in the last Lok Sabha elections. The Congress became more marginalised and was leading in only one seat, while for the first time after independence, the Left failed to open its account in the state.

A saffron storm swept the entire northern West Bengal, including the Darjeeling hills, notwithstanding Trinamool’s attempt to forge alliance with a faction of the dominant hill outfit Gorkha Janamukti Morcha. The BJP also managed to cut deep into West Bengal’s tribal belt by going ahead in Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram, Bishnupur and Medinipur seats with substantial margins.