WB polls: Sena calls Mamata 'Tigress of Bengal' as TMC leads

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(Eds: Adds quotes) Mumbai, May 2 (PTI) Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday hailed Mamata Banerjee as the 'Tigress of Bengal', as her party TMC looks set to retain power in West Bengal after the bitterly fought Assembly election against the main rival BJP.

It is 'not easy to defeat Banerjee', even though the BJP worked hard and put in a lot of investment during the polls in West Bengal, Raut said.

'Congratulations Tigress of Bengal,' the Rajya Sabha member tweeted after Chief Minister Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC) surged way ahead the BJP in the counting of votes currently underway.

Raut also told reporters here that everyone was now more worried about the increase in COVID-19 numbers than the political numbers.

The TMC was ahead in 201 of the 292 seats that went to polls in West Bengal, way over the halfway mark of 147, leaving the BJP trailing far behind in 82 seats, as per the latest trends.

The Shiv Sena, which shares power in Maharashtra with the NCP and Congress, did not contest the West Bengal polls, but extended its support to Banerjee.

As per the latest poll counting trends, the TMC was poised to return to power in West Bengal, the BJP was comfortably ahead in Assam as was the LDF in Kerala.

The trends also indicated that Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK could cede power to arch rival DMK. In the Union Territory of Puducherry, the AINRC-led NDA was headed towards power.

Raut said except for Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, there will be no change in political scenario in the other states.

'We have to compliment Mamata didi that she accepted the BJP's challenge and contested only from one seat. It is not easy to defeat Mamata, even though the BJP worked hard and put in a lot of investment to defeat her,' he said.

'We have no doubt that her party will form the next government in West Bengal,' the Shiv Sena's chief spokesperson said.

Though the TMC seemed to have successfully ridden the BJP challenge, the trends showed Banerjee trailing behind her one-time loyalist and now BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram.

To a query on this, Raut said the Shiv Sena was confident that Banerjee would win.

He said everyone was now more worried about the rising COVID-19 numbers than the political numbers.

'We are paying the price for the election campaigning.

It is time to introspect and to do that also we need oxygen,' he said. PTI MR GK GK