Most Exit Polls Predict Mamata Will Maintain Hold Over West Bengal, Some Say BJP Will Breach Trinamool Fort
Reacting to the exit poll results, West Bengal CM and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee said she doesn’t trust exit poll gossip and urged all opposition parties to remain united and strong.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a rally in West Bengal. (Image: Twitter)
Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) will continue its domination of Bengal, and improve its overall tally from present the 34 to 36-38 seats, News18's IPSOS exit poll has predicted. The BJP is predicted to marginally increase its present tally of two seats to 3-5, the survey said.
On the other hand, the India Today-Axis My India Exit Poll suggested a neck-and-neck fight between the TMC and BJP with 19-22 seats for Mamata Banerjee’s party and 19-23 seats for the saffron side.
Exit polls by both Times Now-VMR and Republic – CVoter also predicted that the Trinamool Congress will continue its domination, but gave 11 seats to the BJP. The Times Now VMR predicted 28 seats for the TMC, two for the Congress and one for others.
Meanwhile, the Republic C-Voter predicted 29 for the TMC and two for the Congress. On the other hand, Republic-Jan Ki Baat Exit Poll predicted the BJP making massive inroads, with 18-26 seats, the Left decimated with zero seats and the Trinamool Congress reduced to 13-21 seats.
Reacting to the exit poll results, West Bengal CM and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee said, “I don’t trust Exit Poll gossip. The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip. I appeal to all Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold. We will fight this battle together.”
The News18 Lok Sabha exit poll survey has been conducted by IPSOS, the world’s top international pollster that boasts a solid track record of predicting the electoral outcomes of several elections around the world with accuracy.
It has been decades since West Bengal has seen an electoral battle with stakes as high, or a campaign that has been marred by such bitterness between the ruling Trinamool Congress and its challenger, the BJP. In 2014, in spite of the Narendra Modi wave, the Trinamool Congress had a landslide win and improved its tally to 34 seats while the BJP was restricted to just two seats.
The CPI(M), which had ruled for 34-years in the state, was decimated and left clinging to just two seats, while the Congress held on to four seats in its traditional bastions.
But a lot has changed in the past five years. The systematic weakening of the Left and the Congress across the state, aided in no small part by a TMC looking to strengthen its position, meant that the BJP had a chance to emerge as the principal opposition.
The 2014 results saw the BJP get 17 per cent vote share and for the first time it finished second on three seats. While TMC has dominated successive elections, the BJP has gradually grown and the Left, meanwhile, might well be looking at extinction in the state.
For the BJP, three factors, all based in identity politics, were key to the poll pitch in the state. First, the opposition vaccum, second, its emphasis on religious polarisation and the argument that Hindus need to consolidate their votes to stop Mamata Banerjee’s alleged Muslim appeasement and lastly, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) gambit to try and woo the influential Dalit voters in families descended from east Pakistan refugees.
Never before had the BJP put so much emphasis on Bengal. Part of this has to be with the fact that with a weakened Left – the historic and natural opponent of the RSS, the party sees an opportunity in a state that has so far rejected it.
But also, Bengal – which sends the most number of MPs to the Lok Sabha after UP and Maharashtra – has the potential to offset any losses in other states.
But Mamata Banerjee, who has prime ministerial ambitions, had no plan of making this happen. The acrid campaign saw both Modi and Mamata trade blows and the war of words repeatedly culminated into actual violence on the ground on each of the phases in the state.
Moreover, the violence in Kolkata during Amit Shah’s rally on May 14 led the Election Commission to curtail campaigning in the state almost a day in advance.
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