The Trinamool Congress has registered a thumping victory in West Bengal. That is the single biggest story in the election results across five states that were declared today. In individual battles, the biggest story is undoubtedly Nandigram where Suvendu Adhikari defeated Mamata Banerjee by a narrow margin. But there is one other constituency which encapsulates the political shift that West Bengal has undergone. We are referring, of course, to Naxalbari.
In Naxalbari, which gave rise to the Maoist movement, the BJP has won comfortably. The Left Front’s ally, ironically, the Congress itself, has come at third position after the Trinamool Congress in second place.
Anandamay Burman, the BJP’s candidate from the constituency, had over 58% vote-share as of the time of writing this report. TMC’s Rajen Sundas had only 28.65% of the votes, the difference in votes over 70,000. INC’s Sankar Malakar, part of the Left Front, secured only 9.58% of the votes.
Naxalbari is emblematic of the erosion of the Left Front’s dominance in West Bengal. Where they enjoyed uncontested dominance for three decades, the Left Front has now been obliterated. Their position has now been taken over by the BJP which is now the primary opposition party in the state.
Naxalbari is also representative of the fact that the BJP has risen to prominence in West Bengal by eating into the vote-base of the Left Front. Simultaneously, the latter has also leaked its minority votes to Mamata Banerjee’s party. The Congress party had won this seat in 2011 and 2016 with Sankar Malakar on the ticket. But with the Left Front, the party has been decimated.