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TMC Consolidate Position in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee Emerges as a Key Player in INDIA Bloc

TMC Consolidate Position in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee Emerges as a Key Player in INDIA Bloc

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, June 4: Further consolidating her position in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee registered a massive victory in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls winning 29 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats improving her tally by seven seats compared to the 2019 elections.

She has not only refuted all the pre-election narratives against her party, she has proved even the INDIA bloc leaders to be wrong by asserting that she can single-handedly halt the BJP juggernaut in the eastern state.

Not only did the State’s ruling party win a majority of seats in the southern part of the State, sweeping Gangetic West Bengal as well as seats in and around Kolkata, it also made a dent in the BJP strongholds in north Bengal and the Jangalmahal region, reducing the saffron party to 12 seats from 18 it had won last time. The Congress which had won two seats in 2019, had to be contended with only one seat this time with the leader of the party in the outgoing Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Choudhry, a strong critic of Mamata Banerjee and opposed all alliance plans with TMC tooth and nail, himself biting the dust.

The TMC improved its tally from 22 Lok Sabha seats in 2019 to 29 seats in 2024, whereas the BJP’s numbers dropped from 18 to 12. The State’s ruling party registered a vote share of about 46%, whereas the BJP recorded a vote share of 38%.

With an emphatic victory in the Lok Sabha polls, Ms Banerjee has emerged as a key player in national politics. The TMC was part of the INDIA Opposition alliance but fought the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal alone and did not enter into any electoral alliance with the Left parties and the Congress.

Ms Banerjee said the results proved that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lost all credibility and must resign. She said Mr Modi’s alliance had not got the numbers — two-third majority — and thus would not be able to change the Constitution.

The TMC chairperson also urged the political parties outside the INDIA alliance to come together to keep Mr Modi out. “I will try to see that Mr Modi is out and INDIA is in. We will request those supporting the government not to do so,” she said. Ms Banerjee reached out to Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray, Nationalist Congress Party (SP) leader Sharad Pawar. “I have also sent congratulations to Rahul [Gandhi] but he has not got back to me.”

Among the major victories in the election was that of her nephew and TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, who won the Diamond Harbour seat with a margin of about 7.10 lakh votes from his nearest rival, BJP’s Abhijit Das. This was one of highest margins of victory registered by any candidate in the Lok Sabha polls. The other significant victory was of Basirhat candidate Hazi Nurul Islam (TMC), who defeated BJP’s Rekha Patra, who had become the face of the Sandeshkhali protests.

The major setbacks in the elections include five-time Congress MP and State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who lost the Baharampur seat to the TMC’s former India cricketer Yusuf Pathan. Former State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, who contested the Burdwan Durgapur seat, lost to TMC candidate Kirti Azad, another former India cricketer. In Coochbehar, the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nisith Pramanik, lost to TMC candidate Jagadish Chandra Basunia.

The BJP won six out of eight seats in north Bengal, two in Jangalmahal Purulia and Bishnupur, two seats — Tamluk and Kanthi — in Purba Medinipur district and two, Bongaon and Rangaghat, in the region bordering Bangladesh where the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was an issue.

Issues of corruption, scams in the recruitment process and atrocities of women at Sandeshkhali, all raised by the BJP and other Opposition parties, did not push voters away from the TMC. People of the State, particularly from south Bengal, put their faith in Ms Banerjee and her government’s cash incentive schemes such as Lakshmir Bhandar, which helps 2.18 crore women beneficiaries in the State.

The results in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal appeared to be a repeat of the 2021 Assembly polls in the State, where despite a high-pitched campaign by the BJP, the TMC maintained its dominance in south Bengal, almost registering a similar vote share.

The minority vote bank remained firm with the TMC like previous elections and the BJP’s attempts to polarise Hindu votes led to further polarisation of the minority electorate. The only exception in the bipolar contest was Malda Dakshin Lok Sabha seat, which was won by Congress candidate Isha Khan Chowdhury. The Left parties drew a blank and registered about 6% vote share and the Congress managed to secure about 5% votes.

The Lok Sabha elections were also seen as a referendum of the TMC government led by Ms Banerjee which came to power in its third term in 2021. The results have put the TMC government on a strong footing for the 2026 Assembly polls.





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