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After Phase 1 polls, Mamata appears more confident, says BJP losing seats

They (BJP) are not coming back, they're spreading lies through fake surveys, says Trinamul chief at an election rally in Maldah

Arnab Ganguly Calcutta Published 20.04.24, 04:28 PM
Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee File photo

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee donned the hat of a psephologist on Saturday, the day after polling was held for 102 Lok Sabha constituencies in the first phase across the country, including three from Bengal, as she predicted the BJP was losing seats.

She refrained from spelling numbers though.“They are not coming back to power how will they arrest anyone?” Mamata asked at a rally in Maldah’s Gazole. “BJP is spreading lies through fake poll surveys. Let them cross 200 first. They won’t get seats in Bengal, in the South, Punjab, Odisha and Delhi. In Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the number of seats will be reduced by half. Where will they get the seats from?”


Among the seats that went to polls on Friday were all the 39 Parliamentary constituencies of Tamil Nadu, where the BJP is desperate to make an electoral breach. Twelve of the 25 seats in Rajasthan also went to polls on Friday.

In the 2019 polls, except for Karnataka where it made a sweep winning 25 of the 28 seats, the BJP had to return empty handed in the remaining southern states, though it decimated opponents across the western and northern states as well as the North-East.

In Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana where the BJP was unbeatable five years ago, the Congress has entered into seat-sharing arrangement with its rivals like the Samajwadi Party in UP and the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi and Haryana, though the prospects appear dim, despite the talks of an undercurrent against the BJP especially among the farmers and the Rajputs.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had addressed campaign meetings in Amroha, Uttar Pradesh, Damoh in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra’s Wardha while polling was on in Friday, had expressed his confidence in a resounding victory later in the night.

“First phase, great response! Thank you to all those who have voted today. Getting EXCELLENT feedback from today’s voting. It’s clear that people across India are voting for NDA in record numbers,” Modi wrote on his X (formerly Twitter) handle.

Many of his critics pointed to the absence of the BJP’s bluster of crossing 400 on its own in Modi’s post, and the inclusion of the partners in the National Democratic Alliance.

On Friday evening, after the day’s polling in the three North Bengal constituencies of Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri (all the seats went to the BJP in 2019), the Trinamul Congress took out victory processions.

“Our candidate Prakash Chik Baraik (Alipurduar) has already won,” Mamata announced on Saturday at Maldah’s Gazole where she was campaigning for the nominees from the two seats Prasun Bandyopadhyay (Maldah North) and Shahnawaz Ali Raihan (Maldah South).

All the eight seats, including the two in Maldah, went to the Opposition in 2019, with the Congress managing to hold on to a part of its last remaining citadel in Maldah South, where the late Congress stalwart ABA Ghani Khan Chowdhury and his family had lorded for decades.

In Maldah South, the Congress with the support of the Left has fielded the late party leader’s nephew and former MLA Isha Khan Chowdhury.

“I respect Barkat da. You voted for him I have no objection, we were happy (the late Ghani Khan Chowdhury known widely as Barkat da had served as Railway Minister in the Indira Gandhi cabinet, before Mamata first became an MP). We have made Mausam (Mausam Noor, a Rajya Sabha MP from the Trinamul Congress) an MP. The Ghani Khan family already has a representative,” she said, hinting at the voters not to go for the Ghani Khan Chowdhury surname of the Left-Congress nominee.

Apart from the 42 seats in Bengal, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul is also contesting from the lone seats of Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh and Tura in Meghalaya, along with four constituencies of Kokrajhar, Barpeta, Lakhimpur and Silchar.

Contesting from these 48 seats of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, Mamata exuded confidence that the Trinamul along with the partners of the Indian National Development and Inclusive Alliance would form the government, with her party holding the key.

“Only the Trinamul Congress fights for the rights of Bengal in the Parliament. Our MPs were beaten and assaulted, our Mahua (referring to Moitra, the Krishnagar candidate and expelled) was expelled. Where was Khagen Murmu (the sitting BJP Maldah North MP and candidate) when Bengal’s rights were being denied?”

Mamata said the more the number of MPs the Trinamul had in Parliament the better armed it would be to fight for the state. “Do you want Lakshmir Bhandar or Khagen Murmu?” she asked the voters referring to her government’s welfare scheme for women.

Murmu, a former four-time CPM MLA, had joined the BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

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