Kolkata, India: Bengal firebrand Mamata Banerjee regained her sway in West Bengal after trends Sunday showed her party — Trinamool Congress — held a significant lead in vote-count, despite losing the key constituency Nandigram.
TMC national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien described it as a “momentous” day for India and West Bengal.
“An emotional day after fighting the world’s most destructive force, MO-SHA’s BJP. Filthy campaign aided by agencies and shameless EC. A momentous day for India and Bengal. It is understandable that we are euphoric but we also know that during #COVID we have to celebrate responsibly,” he said.
According to trends available for 284 of the state’s 292 constituencies, the party was in the lead in 202, while the BJP was in the lead in 77.
Banerjee, on the other hand, was trailing her former protege-turned-BJP rival Suvendu Adhikari by over 8,000 votes in Nandigram after initially striding ahead.
“Congratulations @MamataOfficial didi for the landslide victory. What a fight! Congratulations to the people of WB,” tweeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The Election Commission of India is yet to formally declare the results, but celebrations were rife across the state with visuals showing people gathering without a face mask and social distancing to celebrate the victory of their party.
Ground visuals showed TMC supporters crowing in their localities and exchanging sweets and colors — activities that are risky in time of a pandemic.
After a multi-phased election in the state, coronavirus infections have risen significantly, with experts raising concerns about Bengal becoming a potential hotspot for the virus.
All post-election and winning rallies have been banned to avoid the spread of the virus.
Mamata Banerjee is yet to take oath for the third term straight but addressed her party’s members and supporters from a state in Kolkata.
She said Bengal saved India with the decision.
The BJP, headed by PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah (Home Minister of India) waged a potentially difficult electoral battle for Banerjee’s party in the state.
Exit polls predicted the fight would be close but Sunday evening countings favored a thumping majority for Mamata Banerjee’s party.
BJP, which has never ruled Bengal had poured all the strength and stay in acquiring leadership in the state. But it turned out the people of Bengal preferred to back Banerjee’s ‘Nijer Meye’ (own daughter) rhetoric.
Billboards after billboards across Kolkata, and other regions of West Bengal read ‘Bangla nijer meye ke chai,’ (Bengal wants her daughter back) as her party effectively managed to mechanize the ‘outsider’ rhetoric for BJP.
Images of Mamata in a wheelchair campaigning after injuring her leg in Nandigram seem to have sparked a sympathy movement in her favor, an India Today columnist wrote.
PM Modi’s “Didi O Didi” taunts only added fuel to the fire, as Mamata came to be seen as a victim of humiliation.
Other analysts noted the BJP’s polarization politics only backfired since the overwhelming Hindu nationalist stance irked the state’s Muslim communities who en-masse voted for TMC.
“Congratulations @MamataOfficial on your stupendous victory! Let us continue our work towards the welfare of people and tackling the pandemic collectively,” Pawar said in a tweet.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in a tweet congratulated the people of the state for being “conscious” and hailed the workers’ efforts in defeating BJP’s “politics of hate”.
“Mamata leading her party to victory today speaks volumes; more than I could have ever eloquently expressed. The firebrand leader has fought the toughest fight in her 40+ years’ political career. She has taken on the might of several national leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amir Shah, and emerged victoriously,” Shutapa Paul, author of ‘Didi: the untold Mamata Banerjee’ and a political commentator said.
Five Indian states emerged out of polls Sunday as the nation battles a deadly spread of the second wave COVID-19.
Caseloads are touching record-breaking numbers in a row, as people die from oxygen shortage and lack of proper medical care amid overburdened healthcare infrastructure.