THE Trinamool Congress romped home in West Bengal, pocketing 213 of the 292 assembly seats that went to polls and secured a third straight term in office, according to the final results announced by the Election Commission. Mamata Banerjee will be sworn in as the Chief Minister of West Bengal for the third time on May 5, her party announced on Monday. The Mamata Banerjee-led party’s main challenger, the BJP, bagged 77 seats, while the ISF, which contested with the symbol of the Rashtriya Secular Majlis Party, and an Independent, managed one seat each. The TMC had clinched 211 seats in 2016.
Though the BJP failed in its effort to dislodge Banerjee from power, it’s for the first time that it will be the main Opposition party in the State Assembly, rising from a measly three seats in 2016 to 77. The Left and the Congress, which ruled the State for decades, will this time have no representation as their alliance with the ISF the Samyukta Morcha mustered a vote share of less than 8 per cent. Counting started at 8 am on Sunday and concluded around 1.55 pm on Monday, sources in the poll panel said. Elections were held in 292 constituencies of the 294-member assembly. Polling was countermanded in two constituencies Jangipur and Samsergan after candidates fell victim to a raging COVID-19 pandemic.
The mercurial Banerjee, however, lost by 1,956 votes in Nandigram to former protege-turned-BJP adversary Suvendu Adhikari. TMC’s heavyweight candidate Firhad Hakim won with a massive lead of 68,554 votes, while others like Javed Khan (63,622), Aroop Biswas (49,427), veteran Subrata Mukherjee (29,203), Partha Chatterjee (28,900) and Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay (28,719) also notched up big wins. The newly-elected MLAs of the Trinamool Congress unanimously elected Banerjee as the legislative party leader at a meeting here, its secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said. The TMC legislators elected the Speaker in the outgoing House, Biman Banerjee, as the Pro-Tem Speaker in the new Assembly. “The newly-elected members will take oath in the Assembly from May 6,” Chatterjee told reporters at the party headquarters here after the meeting of the legislators.