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Will the BJP’s Bengal gambit rattle Didi in her bastion?

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Kolkata, Mar 30: In West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress has set a target of all 42 seats for its cadres. On the other hand, the BJP which has been making inroads in the state says it is confident of winning 27 seats.

In the 2009 elections, the BJP had won one seat in Bengal and by 2014, it had bettered its tally by another seat. However the BJP would see a positive in the fact that it bettered its vote share from 6.1 per cent in 2009 to 16.8 per cent in 2014.

A file photo

The BJP is hoping to make gains in this state, which it has pursued relentlessly over the past five years. In the 2016 assembly polls, the BJP ended up with a vote share of 10.3 per cent, while bagging 3 out of the 294 seats. The Congress on the other hand ended up with 12.4 per cent of the vote share.

[Here is another angle of Congress, AAP alliance in Delhi]

The biggest hit was however taken by the CPM whose vote share fell from 30.1 per cent in the previous elections to 20.1 in the 2016 elections. For the CPM in the Lok Sabha polls the vote share dipped from 33.1 per cent in 2009 to 22.7 in 2014.

The Congress did marginally better in the assembly segment, where it improved its tally from 9.1 per cent to 12.4 in 2016. In the Lok Sabha segment, the party however saw a dip from 13.4 per cent in 2009 to 9.6 per cent in 2014.

For the TMC it has been an upward swing. In the assembly polls it bettered its tally from 38.8 per cent to 45.6 per cent in 2016. In the Lok Sabha segment, the TMC had a vote share of 31.2 per cent in 2009 and 39.3 per cent in 2014.

Looking at the numbers, it is clear that the fight is between the TMC and BJP. It may be recalled that the BJP bettered its performance and ended up in the second place in the municipal elections.

The fight is not exactly an easy one for the BJP against the mighty TMC, which holds 34 seats in the Lok Sabha and 211 of the 294 in the assembly. Mamata Banerjee has been extremely vocal against the BJP and focused her attacks directly on the Modi government at the Centre.

The BJP on the other hand rides sentiments such as the Balakot strike. The focus over the years for the BJP has been on the majority community. It has raked up issues such as minority appeasement and accused Mamata of the same.

While the BJP has taken several areas away from the Congress and Left, it is yet to make a major dent into the prospects of the TMC. The TMC relies on its mass base and muscle. While, there is no doubt that the BJP would make inroads, it would take satisfaction of the fact that it had in several constituencies it had polled over 20 per cent of the votes in 2014. However that could be attributed to the Modi wave of 2014.

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