In an unexpected turn of events, the Bharatiya Janata Party could secure 19-23 Lok Sabha seats out of 42 in West Bengal, the India Today-Axis My India exit poll results showed. The regional parties and others, which include the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), are likely to get 19 to 22 seats in the state, the exit poll said. Indian National Congress might have to be content with just one seat or none at all, as per the exit poll.
West Bengal, always an unlikely destination for the BJP, has been under the influence of TMC in the recent past, and the CPI(M) before that. Coming ahead of the TMC in the state, even if by a hair, would be counted as a major victory for the BJP which had managed a measly two seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
On the other hand, it will be a crushing defeat for the TMC, even if it inches past majority. The party had won 34 seats in the previous General Elections. With a seat tally less than the BJP, the TMC would be losing substantial amount of political clout in the state. Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of the state, has been a vocal critic of the BJP and the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo during the course of 2019 Lok Sabha election.
She has dismissed today's exit poll results in a tweet saying: "I don't trust Exit Poll gossip. The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip. I appeal to all Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold. We will fight this battle together," the West Bengal CM tweeted.
I don’t trust Exit Poll gossip. The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip. I appeal to all Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold. We will fight this battle together— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) May 19, 2019