oppn parties West Bengal: Survey Shows BJP Gaining Massively

News Snippets

  • SC says it will revisit its definition of 'Hindutva' in the light of growing hate speeches
  • Indigo reduces the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra to three months after an inquiry committee finds that it was a Level 1 offense not meriting a 6-month ban
  • Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral says Delhi Police did not act on his phone call asking them to help 16 people trapped in riot-hit areas
  • AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, booked for murder and arson, says he is being framed
  • New HC bench allows the Delhi Police plea that the situation is no conducive to the filing of FIRs and also allows the Centre to become a party to the case
  • Justice S Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court, who was part of the bench that pulled up the Delhi Police for not filing FIRs against BJP leaders for hate speeches, transferred to Punjab HC
  • Two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of Crime Branch in Delhi Police have been formed under DCP Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo. The teams will immediately take over the investigations of the cases related to northeast Delhi violence. Both the teams will be under the supervision of BK Singh, additional commissioner of police (Crime Branch)
  • Sporadic violence was reported from riot-hit areas in the capital as the intensity of the madness seems to have abated. The death toll has risen to 37
  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
Delhi Police file a case for murder and arson against Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain. Hussain is believed to have played a role in the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma whose body was found in Jafrabad
oppn parties
West Bengal: Survey Shows BJP Gaining Massively

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2019-03-18 21:28:17

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Is West Bengal headed for a cracker of a general election in 2019? The latest figures put out by the Times Now-VMR Opinion Survey shows that the BJP has made massive inroads in the state at the cost of the Congress and the Left Front. As for the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the survey shows that while the party’s vote share remains more or less intact, it is going to lose three seats to the BJP. The final tally projected by the survey shows TMC getting 31, down from 34 in 2014 and the BJP advancing to 11, up from 2 in 2014, with the Congress and the Left Front expected to draw a blank. In terms of vote share, the BJP is projected to get 32% which is almost double of the 16.8% it got in 2014 while the TMC is to get 39% against the 39.4 it got last time. The major losers will be the Congress, down to 8 from 9.6 and the Left, down to 15 from 29.6 in 2014.

This confirms the trend emerging in the state in successive elections after 2014 that the BJP is emerging as the lone challenger to the ruling TMC and the Congress and the Left are either being restricted to their fast vanishing strongholds or becoming totally marginalized in state politics. Before 2014, the TMC used to gain with every dip in opposition vote as the BJP had a negligible presence and no infrastructure in West Bengal. But after the Modi wave that year, the BJP has steadily risen to occupy the main opposition’s slot in the state, pushing the Congress and the Left out of the picture.

The projections in the Times Now-VMR survey are alarming for the ruling party. In 2014, the Left Front was the main opposition and there was a vote share gap of almost 10% between the TMC and the Left. Then, too, the combined opposition vote share was 56% (Congress 9.6 plus BJP 16.8 plus Left 29.6), far more than the 39.4% of the TMC. It suited the TMC to engineer defections from both the Congress and the Left and keep them divided to increase its vote share. But now, as the survey shows, the gap between the TMC and the main opposition, the BJP has narrowed down to just 7%. The total opposition vote share still stands at 55% (BJP 32 plus Congress 8 plus Left 15%). With the Left and the Congress steadily losing popularity, there is a huge possibility that the BJP will increase its vote share to trump the TMC in the near future.

Although surveys are never perfect, they do give a fair indication of the way the wind is blowing. It is true that the TMC is not losing vote share. But it is also not gaining new converts. Despite the fact that Mamata Banerjee rides the state like a colossus, with no other leader in the state coming even close to matching her status and popularity, the same cannot be said for her party. Although the party has adopted a strong anti-Centre stand and has been projecting Modi as a leader who divides people and will ruin the country, statistics show that its vote share remains stagnant at below 40 percent. That the BJP is inching closer in terms of vote share must be a huge cause of worry for the party.