TMC retained all seats in city on back of populist schemes

Kolkata, May 09 (PTI):
Trinamool Congress has retained all 14 assembly seats in the city defeating rival BJP by convincing margins in the recent West Bengal assembly poll on the back of populist schemes and the worsening COVID-19 situation, despite the shrill polarisation bid by the saffron party. The overwhleming support for TMC was seen in Jorasanko, Bhabanipur and Kolkata Port constituencies of the city despite their sizeable mixed populations.
Jorasanko, which has a mixed population with a large percentage of Hindi speaking migrants from other states, elected Vivek Gupta of TMC secured 52,123 votes while his nearest BJP rival Meena Devi Purohit got 39,380 votes.
In Bhabanipur, the only constituency in the state where Union Home Minister Amit Shah held door-to-door campaigning, TMC veteran Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay got 73505 votes while his nearest rival poll debutant actor-turned-BJP leader Rudranil Ghosh secured 44786. In Kolkata Port seat TMC heavyweight Firhad Hakim secured 1,05 543 votes against 36,989 by his BJP rival Awadh Kishore Gupta.
The poll in the 292 seats of the state was held over a protracted eight phases. Election to two seats were cancelled following the death of their candidates.
Political analysts attributed the clean sweep by TMC in the city to factors like the worsening COVID-19 situation in the state in the later phases, the demand by TMC for clubbing the last three phases on grounds of concern for public health and the continued road show and rallies by heavyweight BJP leaders till the Election Commission’s ban on meetings.
The campaign against BJP by several Left organistaions and minorities uniting to vote en block against the saffron party also played out as favourable reasons for TMC’s win.
The single most important factor that went in favour of TMC was a slew of its populist social welfare schemes like Duare Sarkar (government at the doorstep), Duare Ration (ration at the doorste) and Swasthya Sathi, which is a basic health cover for secondary and tertiary care up to Rs 5 lakh per annum per family.
Political analyst Sibaji Pratim Basu said, “During the last phases a perception had gained ground that TMC will retain power in the state. It also weighed in the minds of voters, including the Hindi-speaking Bihari population in pockets of Jorasanko and Bhabanipur.”
He said that the innumerable visits by BJP top leaders from outside Bengal, their shrill polarisation bid, the long polling itinerary and the seeming lack of direction or prior assessment by EC about the emerging situation had led to the perception by the general people that the saffron party is more concerned about vote than the health of the people.
“This perception was countered by TMC’s persistent campaign to club the last phases which the EC ignored. This apparently influenced a section of electorate,” he added.
Other factors are campaign for TMC by parties like the RJD which has influence over migrants from Bihar and BJP not projecting a chief ministerial face, Basu said.
The voters of the city, known for their political awareness, were conscious about the difference between Lok Sabha vote and Vidhan Sabha vote while exercising their franchise, he said.

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