Political defections can reap dividends, at least in the case of the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC). Official data has shown that the turncoat candidates in the TMC bagged more seats than their counterparts in the opposition camp, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recently concluded West Bengal Assembly elections.
TMC chief, Mamata Banerjee has scored over her rivals on this front too. Banerjee has left behind her main opponent BJP in this particular tally, as 18 of her electoral candidates who had defected from other parties won seats, while BJP managed to to notch up just 8 turncoat victories.
Mamata Banerjee’s TMC had fielded a total of 28 turncoat candidates and 18 of them emerged victorious. On the other hand, BJP reported only 8 victories among the 27 turncoat candidates they had fielded in the West Bengal Assembly elections.
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TMC had made a major dent in the Indian National Congress (Congress) state unit, when nearly 16 Congress members jumped ship to the TMC. TMC gave them seats to contest and 9 of these candidates successfully fetched the party a seat. These seats include Sabang, Ratua, Kandi, Khargram, Raghunathganj, Mothabari, Reijinagar, Beldanga and Baduria.
Six defected from the CPM party to TMC. Five of them romped home in their respective constituencies except for one candidate. Both the candidates that had shifted from BJP however lost their seat (Habibpur and Bongaon Dakshin), while the candidates from the RSP managed to win two seats (Kultali and Malatipur) for TMC.
In this election, the BJP had poached hard and had the highest number of defectors and that too from the TMC. India’s national party had fielded 13 such candidates from TMC, but just four managed to win from their constituencies. A high-profile candidate from this category was Suvendu Adhikari (Nandigram constituency),who had joined the BJP just before the elections. The rest of the three victorious candidates are – Mihir Goswami (Natbari), Biswajit Das (Bagdah) and Satyendra Nath Ray (Gangarampur).
Apart from these candidates, BJP had fielded five defectors each from CPM and Congress. Only two of them – Tapasi Mondal (Haldia) and Sudeep Kumar Mukherjee (Purulia) – could win the seat for the saffron party. The lone AIFB candidate Biswanath Karak won Goghat for the second time.
The other candidates included a seven-time MLA, Manas Ranjan Bhunia from Sabang, a six-time MLA Ganesh Chandra Mondal from Kultali and two five-time MLAs, Samar Mukharjee (Ratua) and Adhikary Paresh Chandra (Mekliganj).
Overall, about two-third of the turncoat candidates in TMC managed to win, while just one-third lost their seats. However, it worked exactly the opposite in the BJP camp, as more than two-thirds of their candidates, who had defected from other parties, lost.