Trinamool, Congress increase vote share; LF, BJP slump in Bengal

Kolkata, May 20 (IANS) The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress not only came up with a sparkling show by conquering 211 of the 294 West Bengal assembly seats, but also increased its vote percentage by 5.6 percent compared to the Lok Sabha elections two years back.

The Trinamool, which had garnered 39.3 percent votes in 2014, boosted the figure to 44.9 percent, an analysis of the results announced on Thursday revealed.

In the 2011 assembly elections, where Trinamool stormed to power in alliance with the Congress by ousting the 34-year-old Left Front regime, Banerjee’s party had contested 226 seats to pick up 184 seats, securing 38.93 percent of the votes.

On the other hand, the Left Front-Congress alliance that was formed with much hype ahead of the polls and threw a challenge to the Trinamool, finished a poor second with 77 seats pocketing about 38.5 percent of the votes.

The drop in vote share compared to that obtained by the LF-Congress fighting the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 separately was marginal – about 0.81 percent. In 2014, the LF had bagged 29.71 percent and the Congress 9.6 percent, respectively.

But the performance of the partners of the new alliance was not uniform.

Contesting in 193 seats and lending support to associate parties and independents in 11 others, the Left’s share plummeted to 32 seats from the 62 it had won in 2011. The combine’s vote share stood at 26.2 percent as against the 41 percent it had garnered five years back when it contested in all 294 seats.

The LF is now – for the first time in 39 years – not even in a position to win a Rajya Sabha seat on its own strength. According to the poll arithmatic, for victory, a Rajya Sabha candidate has to get 42 first choice votes in Bengal in the biennial elections.

Bagging just 26 seats, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) came up with its worst performance since 1972, when it had to be content with 14. Among its partners, the Revolutionary Socialist Party got three, the All-India Forward Bloc two, and the Communist Party of India just one.

Even in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Left Front had managed 3.51 percent more votes in the state, bagging two seats as against the Trinamool which had won 34 seats. However, the Left had then contested all the 42 seats.

There was a fall in LF major CPI-M’s vote share too.

While five years back, the CPI-M earned the trust of 30.08 percent of the electorate who exercised their rights, it won 23 percent of the votes in 2014.

This time, the CPI-M’s vote shared declined to 19.7 percent, though it contested lesser number of seats – 155.

The Congress, on the other hand, increased both its vote and seat tally vis-a-vis 2011. It got a larger share of the votes also compared to 2014.

In 2011, the Congress secured 9.09 percent of the votes and won 42 out of the 66 seats it contested.

This time, it fielded candidates in 108 seats, winning 12.3 percent of the popular mandate, and secured 44 seats.

In 2014, the Congress had polled 2.7 percent votes less, despite being in fray in all the 42 seats.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, for the first time opened its account in the state in regular assembly polls by getting three seats. Earlier, party candidates Badal Bhattacharya and Shamik Bhattacharya had won in by-polls in 1999 and 2014 respectively.

Despite recording its best performance in the state in the just-concluded assembly election, the BJP saw a sharp slump in its vote percentage compared to its showing in 2014. While the BJP’s vote share had leapfrogged to 16.80 percent in 2014, this time the figure went down to 10.2 percent, a shortfall of 6.6 percent.

However, the party more than doubled its vote share from the measly four percent it received in the assembly polls five years back, when it was sandwitched in a bi-polar ontst between the Left Frotn and the Trinamool-Congress combine.



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