The decimation of the Third Front in West Bengal reflects in the fact that its candidates lost deposits in 85% of the constituencies it fought and the Congress in both seats where senior party leader Rahul Gandhi held rallies.
An analysis of the election results by News18 shows that Third Front candidates could retain their deposits in just 42 of the 292 seats that went to polls (voting was suspended in the two remaining seats in the state). A candidate loses deposit if s/he is unable to secure 16.5% of the votes polled. Both the Left and the Congress scored a blank in the state in terms of seats, while the Indian Secular Front (ISF) could win just one, in a total decimation of the Third Front in West Bengal. The ISF did put up a better overall performance than the other two allies.
What would be extremely embarrassing for the Congress is that it lost badly in the two seats — Matigara-Naxalbari and Goalpokhar — where Gandhi had held rallies on April 14. The candidates there even lost their deposits. The Congress had held Matigara-Naxalbari for a decade, but the sitting MLA, Sankar Malakar, came third this time, polling just 9% votes. In Goalpokhar too, the Congress candidate came third, polling just 12% votes. The Congress had held this seat from 2006 to 2009, and then from 2011 to 2016.
Looking at the three allies individually, the Left could retain deposits in just 21 of the 170 seats it contested, the Congress in 11 of the 90-odd seats it fought, and the ISF in 10 of the 30-odd seats where it fielded candidates. The ISF won one seat and came second in four — Haroa, Basirhat Uttar, Deganga and Canning Purba — pushing the BJP to the third position in all four constituencies. This performance showed that Furfura Sharif cleric Abbas Siddiqui’s new party was the only bright spark in the Third Front.
Left parties could come second in only four seats and the Congress in just two (Joypur and Raninagar). The direct benefit of the decimation of the Third Front seems to have gone to the Trinamool Congress, which won 213 seats, two more than its 2016 tally of 211 seats. Overall, the Congress could secure only 2.94% votes in West Bengal, while the Left Parties secured about 5% of the votes.