In our last couple of pieces on the Bengal elections, we looked at theimpact of Owaisi’s entry into Bengaland the reasonswhy the BJP is pushing so hard to win the state. In this article, we will look at past elections in West Bengal and the BJP’s chances to win the state.
Dominance of CPM
Post-independence, the left parties were strong in West Bengal. Up until 1977, Bengal was governed by Congress, sometimes in alliance with different factions of left parties. In the aftermath of the emergency, the left parties united and emerged victorious in the 1977 Bengal Legislative elections. This began a winning streak of 7 elections in which the left parties secured more than 200 seats (out of 294) in all but one election.
The story of the rise of the AITC
AITC (All India Trinamool Congress) made a strong debut in the 2001 legislative elections—which it contested in an alliance with the Congress to win 30% of votes and 60 seats. In 2006, it partnered with the BJP and saw its seats drop from 60 to 30. In 2011, it again partnered with Congress to win 184 of the 226 seats it contested, with a strong showing in all regions except north Bengal. The left front lost 168 seats that amount to ~ 3/4th of the total seats that it won in 2011.
Mamata followed up the win 2011 Lok Sabha election win in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, winning 34 of the 42 seats. In the 2016 elections, she decided to go solo and won 211 seats
The no. of seats wherein the margin was less than 5 % for Mamata dropped from 40 to 33.
BJP makes an entry
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP made a push in the state and was able to win 19 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats. If we extrapolate the 2019 Lok Sabha results to the Assembly segment results, the BJP was able to win 124 of the 288 seats with major gains in the west and northern parts of the state.
On the basis of 2019 results (extrapolated to assembly segments), The BJP was able to shift 121 Assembly segments in its favor, 83 of which came from the AITC.
Despite the rise of the BJP, AITC has managed to hold on to 102 seats that it won both in the 2011 assembly elections and 2016 assembly elections.
There are 33 seats that AITC was ahead of with a difference of 3 % or less. On 30 of these seats, BJP was the runner up. This means that if there is a 1.5% Vote transfer from AITC to BJP from the 2019 elections, the BJP could come to power in Bengal.
There is no shift in the no. of seats if the left front and INC come together and repeat their 2019 performance
In the end, the Bengal elections will hinge on the question of whether the BJP will be able to repeat its 2019 performance in Bengal. If it does so and given that Owaisi will have some impact on the elections, it will be very difficult for AITC to come back to power.