Battleground Lok Sabha: West Bengal

1. Background

West Bengal sends 42 MPs to Lok Sabha and is a key state for govt. formation at the center. WB has been the fiefdom of the Left Front for ages. This was broken by the charismatic Mamata Banerjee. She won with absolute majority in the state polls in May 2011. She won in an alliance with Congress and did a Janata Dal (United) on Congress, withdrew support to UPA in Sep. 2012.

Her maverick ways has dented her popularity a bit in urban areas but in rural areas she still holds the sway as evidenced by her strong performance in Panchayat polls recently.

Congress is weak, it’s tallest leader of the state Pranabda has retired from politics as he is now President. BJP historically has been weak though it’s founder Shyama Prasad Mookerji was a Bengali.

2. Historical Results

The state has been a CPM bastion from 1970’s till 2004. Since 2009, Trianmool Congress has forged ahead of the Left parties.

Parties 1952 1957 1962 1967 1971 1977 1980 1984 1989 1991 1996 1998 1999 2004 2009
Congress 24 23 22 14 13 3 4 16 4 5 9 1 3 6 6
Trinamool Congress 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 8 1 19
Left Front 5 6 9 12 23 20 34 23 33 33 29 29 26 29 15
BJP 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 1
Bhartiya Lok Dal 0 0 0 0 0 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Others 10 7 5 14 4 4 4 3 5 4 4 4 3 6 1
Total 39 36 36 40 40 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42 42

Source: Statistical Reports, Election Commission of India

3. Demographics of State

Hindus comprise of 72.5% and Muslims 25% of population.

4. 2009 Lok Sabha Elections – Close Finish

7 seats out of 42 were decided on a margin of less than 5%.

5. Projections for 2014

Politicalbaaba estimates Mamata to bag 25 seats, while Left 15. Congress and BJP would get 1 seat each. Lot of artists in the fray, Moon Moon Sen, Bappi Lahiri, Babul Supriyo, PC Sarkar etc. Lets see what their fate is…

For seat wise projections of W.Bengal please refer to the following link by a blog reader and follower Madjackroy:


  1. Along with Odisha, West Bengal could turn out to be a state to watch this time … there are reports that BJP is hovering around the 20% vote share mark and might win 2-3 seats in WB. It may very well emerge as the third largest party in the state, and if the Left continues to atrophy there, may eventually take the number two spot. As in Kerala, and somewhat surprisingly, Left voters seem to be able to switch to the right-wing party very easily, most likely because Hindus make up a large part of the Left’s support base, and minority votes in WB are coalescing around Mamata right now. The decline of Congress as a viable alternative is, of course, a major factor as well. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both Mamata and Naveen have started attacking Modi and BJP with a new vigor over the past few weeks. But BJP needs to find strong regional leaders to project in these two states if it wants to become a force to reckon with. If BJP puts up a strong show in WB and Odisha this time, a post-poll tie-up with Trinamul and BJD seems very unlikely, since both parties have to worry about the implications on politics in their states.


      1. Interestingly, though, both Modi and Jayalalithaa attacked each others’ parties for the first time today (Modi saying DMK and AIADMK both take people for granted, and Jayalalithaa saying there is no difference between Congress and BJP on the limited issue of Cauvery). Granted these were softball attacks and they did not name each other directly, but it reflects a clear change in strategy. Is NDA’s rainbow alliance posing a challenge to AIADMK in TN? Ground reports suggest that DMDK, PMK and MDMK leaders are more enthusiastic than BJP’s own cadres in promoting Modi’s candidature there. But yes, Jayalalithaa is almost certain to go with Modi after the polls, to keep DMK away from power if nothing else.

        BJP now looks set to win at least a couple of seats each from WB, Odisha, Andhra and TN. Their combined tally from all these states was expected to be zero just a few months ago, and in 2009, it was one! Kerala may be the only large state in the country where BJP will fail to open its account (unless they miraculously scrape through in Thiruvananthapuram, although the chances of that are extremely remote). 2014 may well be the election where BJP becomes a truly national party. Whether they can build on this huge foothold remains to be seen.


      1. Darjeeling and Cooch bear will go to TMC, Left front will retain Alipurduar and jalpaiguri.
        Big disappointment for BJP as they expected to win Darjeeling.

        All seats has been covered.


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