Odds against BJP to breach Mamata's Bengal bastion
By  IANS | Updated:  Mar 14, 2019, 02:44 PM
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has turned the contest in West Bengal into a high-stake battle. But going by the performance of the Trinamool Congress in previous elections, even moderate gains for the BJP will be a huge political statement.
Mamata Banerjee's party won 34 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state in a contest where the average winning margin was 1.50 lakh votes.
There were three seats on which margin was over 3 lakh, two of which -- Arambagh won by Aparupa Poddar and Jhargram won by Uma Saren -- went to the Trinamool Congress.
The BJP won only two seats, Babul Supriyo from Asansol and S.S. Ahluwalia from Darjeeling, which was considered to be an important toe-hold for the party in the state where it had negligible presence.
The Congress won Baharampur (Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury), Malda Dakshin (Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury), Jangipur (Abhijit Mukherjee) and Malda Uttar (Mausam Noor) seats. Of these, Mausam Noor has already crossed over to the Trinamool Congress.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) also continues to be on the margins. It had won only Raiganj (Md. Salim) and Murshidabad (Badaruddoza Khan) in the last Lok Sabha elections.
On 18 seats where the margin was around 2 lakh votes, the Trinamool Congress had won 16.
Banerjee is rattled as the Election Commission (EC) has announced a seven-phase poll in West Bengal.
The BJP hopes to give a tough fight to her with the Congress and CPI-M remaining on the fringe.
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