India Today analysis shows Congress-Left breakup could help TMC in Bengal
The Opposition's plan to stitch a mahagathabandhan against PM Modi has suffered another setback. The Congress has virtually called off its alliance with the Left Front, which looked like a triangular battle' for into a four cornered one. A quick look at the past data and present ground realities indicates a quadrangle battle' will benefit the TMC and the common rival the BJP.
The battle may turn relatively easier for Mamata Banerjee-led TMC if past vote shares are the benchmark.
The TMC data shows that they could be safe and have as many as 20 seats in the state. Of the rest 20 seats, the battle would be a close contest among a dozen, including that of Alipurduras, Birbhumi, Jalpaiguri and Diamond Harbour.
LEFT PARTIES AND CONGRESS
The BJP which drew a tally of two seats in 2014 is already rubbing its hands in glee. The party is hoping to build on its improved performance in the local body elections to make deeper inroads in the state with the Opposition failing to put up an united front.
Data analysis shows that the BJP's graph may be on the upswing in at least five to six Lok Sabha seats. During the last few years, while appealing for the Opposition unity, Mamata Banerjee has been working on a political strategy to edge out the Congress and the Left parties which were the main players in the state at a time.
With carefully orchestrated political moves, Mamata has created a political fault line which has propped the BJP and the party is now not in a position or vote support to convert popularity into seats.
After Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal seems to be turning into the biggest political potboiler before the polls with data showing that as many as 17 seats, where vote share margin was less than 10%, there is bound to be a close contest between the TMC, the BJP, and the CPM-led Left Front in West Bengal.
The CPI(M) was in power for decades, but now it seems to be struggling to even survive in the state.
With the spectre of a fourcornered contest looming large, the CPM, which leads the Left Front may face a virtual rout in this LS election and may even fail to retain strongholds in Raiganj and Murshidabad seats after the break-up of the potential alliance with the Congress.
After a collapse of the Congress and the CPM alliance talks, seats in Raiganj and Murshidabad both held by the CPI(M) in 2014 have become worth all bellweather constituencies.
In 2014, the Congress was the runner-up on these seats, and the vote margin between the winner and the loser was less than 2%. If the two had united, their candidate would have trounced the TMC.
The seat once held by Congress stalwart and President Pranab Mukherjee in Jangipur is another seat which may have an impact from the broken alliance.
The seat was won by the Congress, and witnessed a close fight in 2014. The CPI (M) was the first runner-up in 2014 election.
In 2019, the seat, however, turned very risky for the Congress to contest. Data analysis after the Congress-CPM split shows that not just the TMC but even the BJP get into the reckoning in about a half dozen seats in Bengal.
Party had finished as runner-up on 30 seats in the last election. The data analysis also shows that the four-cornered contest may hurt the BJP in seats in Asansol, won by the BJP. This will make the Bengal battle worth watching.
If the TMC's fate go as per the data, then the ruling party in the state may be able to buck anti-incumbency and a belligerent BJP to dominate the elections and even win 22 odd seats adding 8 more seats than that of in 2014, to emerge as one of the key blocs of a non-BJP, non-Cong government.