KOLKATA: The BJP’s performance in the West Bengal Assembly elections shows that the saffron camp trailed in 10 Lok Sabha seats out of 18 which it had won in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Though the party’s tally in the West Bengal state Assembly has gone up to 77 from 3, the performance in the 10 Lok Sabha constituencies out of 42 in Bengal is said to be a debacle that may prove costly in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The two Union ministers -- Debasree Chowdhury and Babul Supriyo -- failed to secure the lead in their constituencies of Raiganj and Asansol respectively. The party bagged seven Lok Sabha seats out of eight in north Bengal in 2019, but it was ahead of the TMC in four seats only in the just-concluded Assembly elections.
The party’s sitting MP Locket Chatterjee too failed to bag leads in the Chinsurah Lok Sabha constituency. The party failed to be ahead of the ruling Trinamool Congress in the Midnapore Lok Sabha constituency from where BJP’s state president Dilip Ghosh was elected in 2019.
The six other Lok Sabha seats where the BJP trailed are Barrackpore, Jhargram, Bankura, Balurghat, Malda (North), and Burdwan (East)
In south Bengal, BJP secured leads in two Lok Sabha seats -- Ranaghat and Bongaon -- located in the stronghold of the Matuas, a religious sect comprising Hindu refugees from Bangladesh. Two other seats are where the saffron camp is in an advantageous position is Bishnupur in Bankura and Purulia.
"We received a massive jolt in north Bengal where our party made deep inroads in the 2019 general elections and bagged all the seven seats others than Malda (South), which was won by Congress. The ruling Trinamool Congress had no electoral stake in the region in 2019 and now they are ahead of us in four Lok Sabha seats. This is alarming," said a senior BJP leader.
The senior leaders of the BJP’s Bengal chapter describe the Assembly election’s reflection in Lok Sabha seats as a major threat ahead of the 2024 general elections.
"None of our narratives that we had floated in Bengal polls worked. Now, the Centre led by our party is facing criticism over the issue of a sudden spike in Covid cases. Healing these wounds within a span of three years is not an easy task," said another BJP leader.