The BJP has secured three seats in the West Bengal Assembly this year while its vote-share is 10.2 per cent. And in at least 100 seats, the BJP candidates have garnered more votes than the win-loss margins of the Left-Congress candidates.
The party could have won two more seats had Shamik Bhattacharjee, who won the 2014 bypoll from Basirhat South, and former state BJP chief Rahul Sinha, who had a lead for the entire day, not lost. [TMC sweeps Bengal polls]
To say it in brief: The BJP's show in the 2016 Bengal Assembly election is more significant than that in the 2014 Lok Sabha Assembly when it got 17 per cent vote-share, the highest ever. [Why 1 seat for BJP in Kerala is not an insignificant number]
Dilip Ghosh, the state BJP chief and one of the three winners, said though it was not as per the expectations, but at least they have something to fight with for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
BJP's seat number has grown by 300%
To those who feel the number three means nothing, particularly when the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has swept the polls with 211 seats, there is a hidden message in the BJP's story. One, the seat number has increased from one to three (and that too, in a full-fledged election), which means the growth is 300 per cent. [Ready to give BJP issue-based support]
Compared to 2011 polls, BJP's vote-share has grown by 250%
Secondly, more than the 17 per cent vote-share received in the Lok Sabha election during which the BJP rode the Narendra Modi wave throughout the country, it will be fairer to compare this 10.2 per cent with the vote-share of the 2011 Assembly election, when it was just over 4 per cent. This again suggests a rise by over 250 per cent. And the BJP did this contesting alone and without any Modi wave to aid.
People of Bengal are gradually considering BJP as an alternative
The BJP's performance also shows that the people of Bengal are gradually considering it as the alternative to the establishment in the state. Experts had predicted before the polls that the 17 per cent vote-share that the BJP had received in the Lok Sabha election came from the Left and other anti-Trinamool quarters.
The BJP's poor show in the last civic polls suggested that those votes were going back to the Left. But the results on May 19 proved that those votes are not going back to the Left and are instead ready to give Mamata Banerjee a benefit of doubt.
Congress has 44 seats but 22 of them are in its traditional pockets
The Left and the Congress have clearly lost significance in the state's politics. The Congress got 44 seats half of which have come from its traditional bases--- Murshidabad and Malda. In terms of vote-share, too, the Congress now leads the BJP by just two per cent.
Hence, in days to come, it will be the 'Mamata vesus Modi' factor which will rule the state's politics.