Election Watch 2016: West Bengal

Overview: Mamata Bannerjee’s All India Trinamool Congress( AITC) expected to win the elections again in the hugely bipolar state of West Bengal but a vote swing of 3%-4% could swing the tide in the Communist Bloc’s favor.

First things first, this is not an exit poll. All exit polls are banned from publishing by the Honorable Election Commission till all the elections have been completed on May 16th. This is an extended opinion poll taking into consideration all the opinion polls that have been conducted by many agencies. Now, are all opinion polls accurate? We never know but, the important thing that it tells us is the Trends.

It is easy for all of us to know, The General elections of 2014 and the subsequent state-wide elections have different tendencies all together as the State players have a more hardened say in the state scheme of things which was the primary reason that the BJP has lost most of the State elections it has fought after May 2014 even though Narendra Modi is still the most eligible person the lead India again in 2019.

This trend though will continue and its only in Assam that the BJP+( Allied with the Asom Gana Parishad(AGP) and Bodo People’s Front( BPF)) has a good chance of forming the next government. Even then, as the polls have concluded, the confidence within the BJP itself, is wearing out from a virtual government forming on its own to a toned down version of the same.

A Congress Left combined poster

Even then, the BJP is expected to make strong inroads at-least in its vote share both West Bengal and Kerala and is also expected to score some seats in both. In the 2011 elections, the BJP had a vote share of 4.06% across state though the party had failed to win a single seat. Conservative estimates now put the BJP at around 10% of the total votes cast in West Bengal, a significant rise of around 6% from last time. This leap will most probably result in the BJP winning 2-4 seats in West Bengal.

For the Congress, the future looks bleak. The BJP is gaining most of its share directly from the Congress. A pre-poll alliance with the Left Bloc might result in the Congress being a part of the Government depending on others and the performance of Trinamool Congress and the anti-incumbency factor though, on its own the Congress has been decimated. The same was done by the Congress in Bihar where they aligned with RJD and the JD(U) and are now part of the government.

Election Wallpaper Printing
Election Wallpaper Printing

It is hypocritical to say the least what the Congress is doing. They are openly critiquing the Left ideologue in Kerala and hugging each other in Bengal. Is the Congress in such a shambles that at-least when fighting elections, they don’t act hypocritically? Does, being in the anti BJP faction such a huge thing that they have to align with their rivals? The Congress needs to get its house in order and fast too unless it intends to be totally annihilated. But that is for another day.

Speaking now of the two main parties in Bengal. Pre-election, Mamta Bannerjee seemingly had the winds in her tail, enough to make her win the elections. Not as much seats as in 2011 but enough to form a stable one party government. Now, though according to some, the tide has changed. Notable elections watchers are saying a 3-4% swing in the votes can cause a Left Bloc victory too while some other watchers are saying that post polling, Trinamool will equal if not better the 2011 results.

Students paint graffiti on the walls

The main question here is where this vote swing will come from and move to. One thing is clear. Around 3-4% of Congress’ share is going to the right. The other 4-5% share which the BJP gains will effectively decide the election. With all the three results possible, A left Bloc marginal victory, A Trinamool Marginal victory or a thumping Trinamool victory.

Our opinion is that Mamta Bannerjee will retain West Bengal this time around but will fall short of matching her 2011 performance. The BJP will win 2-4 seats this time around while the Congress will win around 20 seats. AITC will win around 40% of the vote share and the Left around 30%-32%.

Editor’s Note: We have deliberately left out the Caste wise voting analysis pattern and only concentrated on the numerical pattern of voting.

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