The BJP needs a big win. To restore the image of the party, it needs to pick up West Bengal, an opposition-ruled bastion and a historical political outlier. If West Bengal falls to the BJP, it will signal to the rest of India that the BJP is indeed a national party. The past several elections went awry for the party; in Bihar, it barely scraped to form a government, in Maharashtra it could not form a government because regional partners rejected it, and in Haryana it did not win but nevertheless formed the government. In Madhya Pradesh, it took defections to get the BJP back in the saddle; the attempt to unseat Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan turned into a circus. It lost the Delhi elections and it is facing incumbency issues on the one hand and a botched pandemic response on the other. The economy has contracted, growth is negative and none of its efforts to get the economy going have worked. The Modi government is looking incapable at this point; after 50 days on the nation’s highways leading into Delhi, the farmers are a political challenge to the BJP. Planning to win in West Bengal because of reasons that have nothing to do with the actual grassroots strength of the BJP in reality is a risky proposition, bordering on the fantastic.
It is a straight war between the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the BJP in West Bengal, which voted left parties to power, for many decades since independence. Though, it seems the TMC has a clear edge in this political fight, BJP is not far behind and likely to make a huge dent in the political equation of the state.
According to an IANS CVoter survey, the TMC is likely to emerge as a clear winner with 156 seats, which is barely over the half-way mark, and a decrease in 55 seats from its 2016 tally in the 294 seat Assembly. The survey projects, the BJP will notch up its tally from single-digit 3 seats in the 2016 election to a triple-digit 100 in the 2021 election. The Left Front-Congress combine is projected to be at the third spot with just 35 seats.
Interestingly, the survey projects there isn’t a gulf of difference in votes percentage of the TMC and BJP, where the former is likely to get 42.8 percent and the latter not far behind with 38 percent. The swing vote percentage favours the BJP, which has jumped from 10.2 percent in 2016 polls to 38 percent in 2021 polls, on the contrary, the TMC may get 2.1 percent less votes percent. The Left Front-Congress combine is projected to get 12.9 percent votes, a major of 25 percent from its 2016 tally, and it seems the beneficiary is the BJP.
According to the projected range of seats, the TMC is projected to get seats in the range 148-164 seats, followed by the BJP with 92-108 seats and the Left Front-Congress may get 31-39 seats and the remaining 1-5 seats may go to the independent candidates.
The survey also observed a significant gap between the numbers of actual voting intention and the perception of winnability in West Bengal. While the BJP is leading the war of perception and winnability, it is the TMC that is still leading the likely voter’s equation. The perception gap for the BJP is 4.6 and for the TMC it is -8.8. According to the survey, 42.6 percent perceive the BJP is likely to win the West Bengal election, while 34 percent perceive, the TMC will win.
The battle for the states is a mixed bag with Mamata Banerjee projected to win the high-stakes battle for West Bengal despite losing the war of perception, DMK-Congress is sweeping Tamil Nadu, the Left is comfortably retaining Kerala while the BJP is retaining Assam and the AINRC–BJP alliance in Puducherry is slated to be victorious, as per the IANS C Voter opinion poll wave 2.
An important observation in the tracker is a significant gap between the numbers of actual voting intention and the perception of winnability in West Bengal.
“While the BJP is leading the war of perception and winnability, it is the TMC which is still leading the likely voter’s equation”, it said.
The survey has a sample size of 70608 for 824 seats in 5 states with a margin of error of 3-5 per cent.
In Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry, there is no contradiction observed as far as the actual voting and perception of winning is concerned. In fact, in all these states, the perception of winning goes further up for the leading party in actual vote share, which confirms the trend reported by the Tracker.
The TMC led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is tipped to get a simple majority in the high decibel and cut-throat Bengal election with a projected seat share of 156 seats in an assembly of 294. TMC is holding on to its vote share with erosion of just 2.1 per cent. The challenger, BJP is making big gains with a vote share swing of 27.8 per cent to notch 38 per cent vote share and will get 100 seats while the Left-Congress combine is projected to get 35 seats.
In Tamil Nadu, it is the DMK-led combine that is headed towards a near two-thirds majority with the alliance with the Congress and others projected to win 158 seats out of 234 while the ruling AIADMK in alliance with BJP and others will get only 62 seats. The UPA alliance is only gaining a 2 per cent vote share but AIADMK is losing heavily with erosion of 15 per cent vote share.
In Kerala, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) is repeating its 2016 performance and will form the government again with a haul of 87 seats compared to 91 in the previous election. While the LDF is losing 3.4 per cent vote share, the Congress-led UDF is losing more with 6.2 per cent erosion and even BJP is losing vote share while others are gaining. The UDF is projected to win 51 seats in a house of 140.
In Assam, BJP Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is headed for a second term with the party matching its 2016 performance and winning 72 seats, just down 2 seats in a house of 126. The Congress is winning 47 seats despite winning big in vote share by almost 10 per cent points reducing the gap with the BJP to just 2 per cent but winning fewer seats.
In Puducherry, while the Congress government lost the vote in the assembly, it is also losing at the hustings. The AINRC-BJP-AIADMK alliance is winning big with 19 seats in a house of 30.
West Bengal is at the first rank in improved living standards of people – the highest among the five poll-bound states in the last one year, according to the IANS Cvoter survey.
Over 38,932 people in 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal participated in the survey, up to 26.86 per cent replied their living standard has improved in last one year and 31.21 per cent said their standard remained the same, 41.39 per cent replied their living standard has deteriorated, while 0.54 per cent participants said they can’t evaluate.
Kerala which is also among the poll-bound states secured the second position where 8,796 participants from 140 Assembly seats replied that the living standard of 21.76 per cent people has improved in the last one year. 35.45 per cent of participants replied there has been no change in their living standard and 42.72 per cent said their living standard has deteriorated instead in the last one year, whereas, 0.08 said they can’t say.
Similarly, a survey based on 4,776 participants from 126 Assembly seats in Assam, where 19.26 per cent claimed their living standard has improved, 23.54 per cent found no changes, whereas, 48.58 per cent were of the view that their standard has deteriorated and 8.62 per cent could not say.
In Tamil Nadu, 11.85 per cent claimed improvement in living standard, 30.29 per cent found no difference, 52.54 per cent found their living standard had deteriorated and 5.32 per cent said they can’t say. The survey in Tamil Nadu was based on 16,475 participants from 234 Assembly seats.
As per the Cvoter survey, 20.88 per cent of participants in Puducherry found their living standard improved in the last one year, 29.25 per cent said they found no difference, while 49.05 per cent said their living standard had deteriorated. (IANS)