BJP has made massive inroads into West Bengal, with victory in ten seats and lead in 8 more constituencies, after a bitterly fought elections. Mamata Banerjee's TMC has already won 14 seats and is going strong on eight more. The Congress, true to pattern in most of the country, is trailing way back with lead on just two seats.
This election comes as a bad scare to Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, whose party had won 34 of the state's 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 while the BJP could win only two constituencies. So, in a sense, the 2019 poll results for West Bengal are actually a win for the saffron party - it had wanted to make inroads into the state boasting the third-highest number of Lok Sabha seats after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, and has done that with aplomb. On the other hand, Banerjee seems to be barely hanging on to her fortress. TMC, the fourth largest party in the Lok Sabha, has governed the state since the former railways minister ended decades of communist rule there in a 2011 vote.
The West Bengal poll results are more or less true to the exit polls, which had predicted that the BJP will win 19-23 seats. The party's Look East policy for this election was based on its concerns over the Hindi heartland states after the debacle in the assembly polls. The BJP had increased its focus on West Bengal in order to retain power in New Delhi should it lose in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh again. As it turns out, those fears proved unfounded today with the BJP set to win big in all three states.
As expected, the breakdown of the Congress-CPI(M) seat sharing talks ended up hurting the ruling party in the state since the BJP was able to bag the bulk of the anti-incumbency votes. Had the alliance worked out, it would have eaten into BJP's share of such voters, which would have been advantage TMC. Let's not forget that in the 2016 state assembly polls, the CPI(M)-Congress alliance had weighed heavy on the BJP.
Incidentally, the BJP is also on its way to win four out of the eight assembly bypolls held in the state. Election Commission data suggests that the saffron party is leading on four seats while TMC is behind on three. Bypolls in West Bengal were held Bhatpara, Darjeeling, Habibpur, Islampur, Kandi, Krishnaganj, Nowda and Uluberia Purba.
The writing on the wall is clear: The BJP has completely replaced the CPI(M) as the main opposition in the state.