New Delhi: Trinamool Congress (TMC) registered a thumping victory by winning 34 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal. The contest in Bengal was four cornered with the TMC, Left, Congress and BJP competing for all the 42 seats. In 2009, TMC won 19 Lok Sabha seat, but this time it managed rout the entire opposition.
TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee defeated CPI-M's DR Abul Hasnat from the Diamond Harbour seat, former Union ministers Sougata Roy and Sudip Bandopadhyay of TMC won the Dum Dum and Kolkata Uttar seats respectively.
Former Railway minister and TMC candidate Dinesh Trivedi won from Barrackpur. He contested against Subhashini Ali of CPI-M. While Babul Supriyo of BJP won in Asansol by beating Congress's Dola Sen, other saffron party candidate SS Ahluwalia won from Darjeeling. He was pitted against former footballer and TMC candidate Bhaichung Bhutia.
Union ministers Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury won from Baharampur and Maldah Dakhsin respectively for the Congress.
Repeating its historical 2011 Assembly election performance despite all the negative publicity the Saradha chit fund scandal generated, the TMC, which had 19 seats in the current Lok Sabha, added 15 more to the tally, all of which were wrested from the Left Front.
The CPI(M)-led Left Front in its worst-ever showing in Lok Sabha election could manage to win only two seats. The Left Front lost all the 15 seats it had won in 2009 in the 15th Lok Sabha, but could manage a win in two seats - Raiganj and Murshidabad, both of which were held by the Congress.
The Congress managed to retain four of the six seats it had won in 2009, with President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee retaining Jangipur, though winning by a slender margin of 8,315 votes.
The BJP, which does not have much of an organisation in the state, however, appeared to have been boosted by the Narendra Modi wave which saw the party's vote share jump by 11.14 per cent.
The TMC not only made a clean sweep in its stronghold in south Bengal districts, winning 30 out of 31 seats, the party made significant inroads in the Left bastion in north Bengal snatching four seats - Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Balurghat - from it.
Since the formation of the party in 1998, this was the best-ever performance in Bengal for TMC, which came very close to Banerjee's stated objective of being the third largest party after the BJP and the Congress. The humiliation of the CPI(M) was made more distinct with the defeat of nine-time MP Basudeb Acharia to rookie Moon Moon Sen of TMC, a former filmstar and daughter of legendary ctress Suchitra Sen, by 97,511 votes. Acharia had won by over 1,07,000 votes in 2009.
Another CPI(M) giant to bite the dust was seven-time MP Ramchandra Dom from Bolpur, who lost to TMC's Anupam Hazra by a whooping 235839 votes. Dom had won the seat in 2009 by 1,26,882 votes. The CPI(M) lost the seat for the first time since 1967.
TMC's new face Dr Uma Soren won the Jhargram seat, wresting it from CPI(M)'s Pulin Bihari Bask, the second highest victory margin in the state this time in a seat which the CPI(M) never lost since 1967.
Congress state president Adhir Chowdhury retained the Baharampur seat by a record margin of 3,56,275 votes for this election in the state. While the Trinamool Congress got 39.40 per cent votes, up from 31.18 per cent in 2009, the Left Front got 29 per cent which came down from 43.66 per cent in the last general elections, while Congress got 9.6 per cent, down from 13.45 per cent in 2009.
Unlike in 2009, when TMC and Congress fought in an alliance, Mamata Banerjee fought a lone battle this time, gaining from the four-cornered contest in the state. The BJP, however, made considerable gains winning two seats as also coming second in three seats behind the TMC.
The BJP had won seats in earlier elections in West Bengal in alliance with the TMC. Much to the discomfiture of the Left, the BJP has come second after the TMC in the prestigious seats of Kolkata Dakshin, a pocket borough of Banerjee which she had held since 1991 till becoming the chief minister in 2011, and Kolkata Uttar constituencies, apart from that in Maldaha Dakshin, pushing the Left to the third position.
Besides Mohammad Salim in Raiganj, CPI(M) could win the Murshidabad seat with Badaruddoza Khan defeating sitting Congress MP Abdul Mannan Hossain. The Left party wrested both the seats from the Congress. The Congress retained Baharampur, Jangipur, Maldaha Uttar and Maldaha Dakshin seats.
Mamata's campaign in 2014 elections was marked for her focused attack on the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who engaged her in a war of words as he campaigned aggressively in the state, where his party has only had minor presence so far.
She has categorically said that her party won't tie-up with the BJP if the latter comes to power. The war of words between the TMC supremo and Modi turned ugly after the BJP strongman targeted her over the West Bengal Saradha chit fund case.
(With additional inputs from PTI)