Voters wait in queue to cast their votes (PTI file)
Voters wait in queue to cast their votes (PTI file)

On counting day, litmus test ahead for Mamata

  • West Bengal witnessed a bitter battle in the Lok Sabha elections
  • The BJP, which currently hold just two seats, is looking to take its tally to more than 10 out of the 42 seats, the Trinamool Congress is vying to retain its share of 36

Kolkata: The usually sleepy ghaats of Kolkata are abuzz with activity, early morning. Fishermen, tea stall owners, hawkers and passers-by have their ears peeled to their transistors for early trends.

All eyes are on West Bengal, with the state having witnessed a bitter electoral battle this Lok Sabha election. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which currently hold just two seats, is looking to take its tally to more than 10 out of the 42 seats, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is vying to retain its share of 36, in the hope that the number will spiral upwards.

“Things are not looking very good among the public for Mamata. We are not sure who will win this time, but Prime Minister Modi should get a second term. We are keeping a close watch on the results," said Raju Dey at Babughat, a former state government employee.

Catch all the live updates here: Lok Sabha Election Results 2019

While president of the West Bengal unit of BJP, Dilip Ghosh, told Mint, that the party was confident of taking up its tally, the state is at the cusp of a tectonic political shift, with a sizeable number of people now looking at Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the man who will usher in much needed change in the state.

“Yes Mamata has been good for us, but she is now losing steam. We have heard that the BJP has done well in Tripura, and we would like to see what changes Modi can bring in here. So far all the schemes he has announced have not reached us," said Atanu Rai, a local vendor near Princep Ghat in Kolkata.

For the electorate, disillusionment struck when the state witnessed unprecedented violence during the electoral process, with miscreants destroying a bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, earlier this month. However, even as the counting process is underway, Bengal — and state Chief minister Mamata Banerjee — is set to witness a nail-biting finish.

“Things don’t look too good for the TMC. They have lost control of things. When a state chief minister had mouths the PM, you know it is an act of desperation. She talks about jonogon (the public), but where have we figured in her agenda this time?" asks Sunil, a construction worker in AJC Bose road.

Interestingly, what was earlier a dual contest in the state between the TMC and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has now given way to a dual contest between the BJP and the TMC, with the former looking at raising its seat tally in the state.

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