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BJP Will Win Over 200 Seats in West Bengal, Says Amit Shah; Mamata Banerjee Derides His Claims

File photos of Amit Shah and Mamata Banerjee

File photos of Amit Shah and Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee questioned how such a claim could be made just a day after the elections were held.

Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah on Sunday said according to the feedback received from the ground, the saffron party will win 26 of the 30 seats that went to polls in the first phase of the West Bengal Assembly election. Similarly, he said the party has got clear-cut indications that it will win 37 of the 47 Assembly seats in Assam that went to polls in the first phase on Saturday.

Addressing a press conference at his residence here, Shah said the peaceful polling and the high voter turnouts are positive signs for the two states and thanked the voters. He also expressed gratitude towards the Election Commission (EC) for conducting peaceful elections in Assam and violence-prone West Bengal.

According to the feedback received from the party workers on the ground, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will win 26 of the 30 seats in West Bengal and 37 of the 47 seats in Assam in the first phase of polling, Shah said. He exuded confidence that the saffron party will register a massive electoral victory in West Bengal by winning more than 200 seats in the 294-member Assembly and also improve its tally in Assam.

Deriding Shah’s assertion, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee said that “the people’s verdict will be evident after votes are counted.” Without naming Shah, Banerjee questioned how such a claim could be made just a day after the elections were held. The counting of votes for all eight phases of the election is slated to be taken up on May 2. “A leader today said that the BJP will win 26 of 30 seats, why did he not claim all 30, did he leave the rest for Congress and CPI(M)?” Banerjee said, addressing a rally here in the Chandipur constituency, adjacent to Nandigram, from where she is contesting.


Asserting that she will not predict anything, Banerjee said that it is the people’s verdict which will be evident after counting. “Since 84 per cent votes were polled, I can surmise that people have voted for us,” she said.

TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien also said in a tweet shortly after Shah’s press meet in Delhi, “Mind games won’t work, Mo-Sha” (a referrence to Modi-Shah).” “Try your seat prediction stunts at the Gujarat Gymkhana. This is Bengal. #KhelaHobe,” O’Brien, the senior TMC leader at all India level, posted on the microblogging site. The post, which also referred to the ‘khela hobe’ (the game will be played) campaign of the TMC, has the hash tag of #TMCSweepsPhase1.

Meanwhile, Shah also appealed to the people of Nandigram, from where Mamata Banerjee is contesting the polls, to vote for change and a better future of the state. Rejecting the TMC’s criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh, he said the visit is to strengthen bilateral ties and has nothing to do with elections.

Facing up to the star-studded BJP campaign where the party has fielded the prime minister, home and defence ministers besides the Uttar Pradesh chief minister among others, Mamata has been carefully cultivating an image of being the ‘lone fighter’ in a battle between Delhi and Bengal. With Nandigram going to the polls in the second phase on April 1, along with 29 other seats, Banerjee asked TMC polling agents not to leave the polling booths at any cost.

Banerjee said that she will have her eyes on her party’s polling agents, warning them that she would know in case anyone works against the party or accepts bribes from the opposition. “I would not have said such things elsewhere, but here we are faced with traitors,” she said.

The TMC supremo has often referred to the Adhikari family, without naming them, as “traitors” after party heavyweights Suvendu, his father Sisir and another brother Soumendu left the party to join the saffron party fold. Banerjee also claimed that a leader from Hyderabad has come to divide the minority votes in Bengal, Banerjee wanted to know his whereabouts during communal riots in Delhi and Gujarat.

AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, who had earlier talked of a possible tie-up with Islamic cleric Abbas Siddique of Furfura Sharif, has spoken of fielding candidates from some seats in the assembly elections in West Bengal. Siddique has formed his own outfit ISF and has entered into an alliance with the Left Front and the Congress to fight the eight-phased assembly elections.