The BJP is doing well in most states, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh. But what comes as a surprise is its performance in West Bengal. It seems communal polarisation has benefitted the BJP, as the party came up with a stunning performance in West Bengal constituencies. The BJP is closing the gap fast with Mamata Banerjee’s All India Trinamool Congress (TMC). As per initial trends of the Election Commission, out of 42 Lok Sabha constituencies, the TMC is leading in 22 seats and BJP is leading in 18 seats restricting Congress to 1 seat. This is the first ever election in West Bengal when Left, which ruled the state for decades, faced a washout.

Among the many other factors that might have benefitted BJP is the Saradha chit fund scam that had names of many senior TMC leaders on the backfoot. The other factor is the ‘Hindutva’ push that began early in 2017 with Ram Navami rallies – an unfamiliar phenomenon in Bengal. Not to forget the communal riots when a teenager in West Bengal posted a meme on the prophet. Also, the clashes during the Ram Navami processions that killed four. To maintain its position, the TMC also tried to woo the Hindu voters by organising Ram Navami processions but quickly abandon the idea considering its Muslim vote base – that comprises over 30 percent of West Bengal’s electorate.

As per initial trends, the TMC has so far secured 44.61 percent votes, closely followed by the BJP, which has bagged 38.99 per cent votes. The CPI (M) and the Congress have garnered a meagre 6.66 percent and 5.44 percent share of the pie respectively. Union Minister Babul Supriyo is leading in Asansol constituency by 54984 votes against Moon Moon Sen of the TMC. Union Minister and BJP candidate S.S. Ahluwalia is leading by 23444 votes against Mamtaz Sanghamita of the TMC in Burdwan-Durgapur Lok Sabha seat.

Two popular Bengali actresses-cum-Trinamool Congress candidates Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan were leading in Jadavpur and Baisrhat respectively while another celebrity candidate, Deepak Adhikari of Trinamool, was ahead in West Midnapore’s Ghatal seat. While several Trinamool stalwarts like state Minister Subrata Mukherjee (Bankura) and sitting MP Kalyan Banerjee (Sreerampore), actress-turned-politician Moon Moon Sen and Mausam Noor, who defected from the Congress, were trailing.

The numbers show that the saffron party has succeeded in making inroads in the state over the past few years. Talking about the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, the BJP had won only two seats – Babul Supriyo in Asansol and S S Ahluwalia in Darjeeling. The Indian National Congress (INC) had won four seats – Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in Baharampur, Abhijit Mukherjee in Jangipur, Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury in Maldaha Dakshin and Mausam Noor in Maldaha Uttar.

(Inputs from IANS and PTI)