Mamata’s TMC may hold the edge in Phase 1 of Bengal elections

Trinamool Congress had won 27 of the 30 seats that will go to polls on Saturday

The Trinamool Congress' winning margin in the 27 seats was 5% and above.

As the first phase of elections to West Bengal gets under way on Saturday (March 27), the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) clearly seems to have an edge in most of the 30 seats that are up for grabs.

The 2016 assembly poll data, provided by the Election Commission of India (ECI), shows the TMC had a very strong position in all the 30 constituencies – spread across four districts of Purba Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, Purulia and Bankura. In the last assembly elections, Mamata had won 27 out of these 30 seats.

The party’s winning margin in these 27 seats was 5% and above. A total of 11 seats fall in the reserved category (four for SC and seven for ST candidates). The Trinamool Congress had won all the reserved seats.

Of the remaining 19 seats, which fall under the general category, Trinamool won 16. Congress and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) bagged 2 and 1 seat respectively. Congress had won Baghmundi and Puruliya with very small margins (less than 5%). Trinamool was the runner-up in all the three seats.

In Baghmundi, Congress’ Nepal Mahata won with a margin of about 4.60 percent (or 8,587 votes) against Trinamool’s Samir Mahato. In Purulia, Sudip Mukharjee of Congress defeated Dibyajyoti Deo of TMC by 4,911 votes (or 2.70 percent) in 2016. The RSP’s Dhirendra Layek bagged Chhatna seat, defeating TMC’s Subhasis Batabyal. He won the seat by just 1.40 percent (2,417 votes) extra votes.

Mamata’s party marked victory in eight seats where the margin of winning was less than 10 percent. The highest winning margin was 33.20 percent.

What the pre-poll survey says

An ABP News and C-Voter pre-poll survey gives Mamata Banerjee an edge over a resurgent BJP, which was nowhere on the scene during the 2016 assembly polls, but made a big mark in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in the state.

According to the survey, 42% voters still believe in the TMC, which is a marginal dip of 2.8% from the 2016 Assembly Elections. BJP, which had 10% of the vote share last time around, is emerging as a strong contender with nearly 37.4% of vote share this time.

While the phase 1 of polling will be held on March 27, the remaining seven phases will take place on April 1 (30 seats), April 6 (31 seats), April 10 (44 seats), April 17 (45 seats), April 22 (43 seats), April 26 (36 seat) and April 29 (35 seats). Results will be declared on May 2.