Many argue that West Bengal is the gateway to Delhi. True or false, it is clear that it was a prominent state in the electoral process of 2019. The state was a critical battleground for BJP, Trinamool and CPI(M) trying to win all the major seats. However, West Bengal made constant headlines in 2019 Lok Sabha polls with reports of violence including crude bombs, lathicharges and repeated political clashes and claims of attacks from candidates as polling was held in all seven phases in the politically important state. The BJP left no stone unturned in attempting to make inroads into Mamata Banerjee's bastion while the Trinamool responded by not ceding an inch.
Making inroads in the state, BJP won 18 out of state's 42 Lok Sabha seats, Congress won 2 and the ruling Trinamool won 22 seats.
Key leaders in fray
The second largest city and Urban agglomeration in West Bengal after Kolkata, the industrial belt of Asansol is slated to witness a star-powered fight this election. Actor Moon Moon Sen had pulled off a major upset in her poll debut by defeating nine-time MP Basudeb Acharia of the CPI(M) in West Bengal’s Bankura Lok Sabha constituency. In her Poll debut Trinamool Congress nominee Sen triumphed by 97,511 votes over Acharia, who has been winning from the seat without a break since 1980. Now, the actor-turned-politician was fielded against BJP's big gun and Union Minister Babul Supriyo from the Asansol constituency.
Meanwhile, Sitting MP Abhishek Banerjee, who is the nephew of Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee and considered the number two in the party, sought re-election from the Diamond Harbour seat, where he was pitted against BJP's Nilanjan Roy. The CPI(M) had nominated Fuad Halim and the Congress Soumya Aich Roy for the seat.
Campaign and Controversy
The ruling Trinamool landed itself in a major controversy after its Raiganj constituency candidate used Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed to campaign for him in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls. The Bangladeshi film star was seen seeking votes for TMC candidate Kanhaiyalal Agarwal at campaign rallies across Hemtabad and Karandighi near the Indo-Bangladesh border.
Ferdous Ahmed along with Tollywood actors Ankush Hazra and Payal even took part in a roadshow for Kanhaiyalal Agarwal. Reacting to the development, the Bharatiya Janata Party had accused the TMC of blatantly violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
"This clearly establishes that for Mamata Banerjee everything has to come from across the border. She always says that people from across the border are welcome while opposing National Register of Citizens (NRC)," said BJP leader Sishir Bajoria.
The Trinamool Congress recorded its best-ever performance in 2014 Lok Sabha election in West Bengal as it swept 34 of the 42 seats decimating the Left in its victory march, while the BJP made impressive inroads winning two seats.
Repeating its historical 2011 Assembly election performance despite all the negative publicity the Saradha chit fund scandal generated, the TMC, which had 19 seats in the current Lok Sabha, added 15 more to the tally, all of which were wrested from the Left Front.