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Mamata Banerjee Wanted to quit as West Bengal CM but party rejected
NEW DELHI: TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said that she offered to quit as the West Bengal chief minister but her party refused to accept the resignation.
"I told at the beginning of the (TMC) meeting that I don't want to continue as the chief minister," Mamata told reporters after an internal meeting of Trinamool leaders today.
The West Bengal chief minister held a meeting of top Trinamool leaders after the party's lacklustre performance in the Lok Sabha elections. The TMC won only 22 seats in the 2019 elections, down from 34 in 2014. On the other hand, the BJP made major inroads in the state, winning 18 of the 42 seats.
Accusing the Modi government of creating an "emergency-like" situation in the state, Mamata said that central forces worked against her party and the EC played a mute spectator.

"The central forces worked against us. An emergency situation was created. Hindu-Muslim division was done and votes were divided. We complained to the EC but nothing was looked into," Mamata said.
Earlier today, Congress president Rahul Gandhi offered to quit from his post following the party's drubbing in Lok Sabha polls but the resignation was unanimously rejected by the Congress Working Committee.(TOI)

BJP leads in 128 Assembly segments out of 294 in Bengal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier claimed during electoral campaign in Bengal that as many as 40 TMC MLAs are in touch with him. The BJP candidate who won the Barrackpore seat put the number at 60. The Assembly bypolls held simultaneously reflected the same trend.

As though the shock of the Lok Sabha results for the Trinamool Congress (TMC) were not enough, the TMC has another worry: the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has stolen a march over the Bengal party in 128 Assembly segments that form a whopping 43.5% of the 294-seat state legislature of West Bengal.

While the TMC led in 158 Assembly segments, the Congress led in only eight and the Left failed to take a lead in a single assembly segment. Of the 40 seats the Left contested, deposits of 39 were forfeited. Congress candidates lost deposits in 37 seats.

It takes 147 legislators to form a government in the state. So far, the BJP’s best show in the Bengal Assembly was in 2016, when it won three seats. On Thursday, however, the saffron party won four more in assembly by-polls. The party also reaped rich dividends in the Lok Sabha polls. Of Bengal’s 42 LS seats,the BJP has bagged 18. Given that position of growing clout, Bengal BJP unit chief Dilip Ghosh, who defeated TMC heavyweight Manas Bhuniya from Midnapore Lok Sabha, said on Friday that state elections due in 2021, could well be held before schedule.

“We have lost to the money power of the BJP and the combination of the BJP and the Left. The Assembly elections will be a different ball game,” said panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee, who contested unsuccessfully from the Bankura Lok Sabha constituency.

“This picture clearly indicates a straight contest between the TMC and the BJP. No third entity will have any opportunity for playing spoilsport by dividing anti-TMC votes,” said psephologist Biswanath Chakraborty, a professor of political science at Rabindra Bharati University.

“It seems like days are numbered for the Mamata Banerjee government. She will find it difficult to retain a good number of party MLAs who are already flirting with BJP,” Chakraborty added.

State Congress heavyweight Adhir Chowdhury, who won his fifth straight term in the Lok Sabha, too, said that Bengal is set to see bipolar elections for the time being.

“We (Left and Congress) are out of the game for now. We don’t have much to do. Anti-TMC votes are consolidating in favour of BJP and anti-BJP votes are going to TMC,” Chowdhury said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier claimed during electoral campaign in Bengal that as many as 40 TMC MLAs are in touch with him. The BJP candidate who won the Barrackpore seat put the number at 60.

The Assembly bypolls held simultaneously reflected the same trend. While BJP candidates got 40.5% of the votes, those won by TMC candidates and an independent supported by the TMC (in Darjeeling) secured 40.22%.

“BJP has swept the northern and southwestern parts of the state and also surged ahead of the TMC in 128 Assembly segments. There is no doubt that TMC will face great challenge in the next Assembly elections, irrespective of when it’s held,” said Tanwir Arshed, assistant professor of political science at Presidency University.

Political analysts are discerning a similarity between the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 and 2009 that marked the beginning of the end of the three-decade-long Left Front regime.

In 2009, the TMC-Congress alliance (including a small Left party) bagged 26 Lok Sabha seats, reducing the Left Front tally to 15. The BJP won Darjeeling with support of local Gorkha outfits.

In 2009, the Assembly-segment wise analysis revealed the TMC-Congress alliance was leading in 190 seats. Two years later, the TMC-Congress alliance swept the Assembly elections by bagging 226 of the 294 seats.

Loksabha Election in Bengal - Neck-and-neck fight in 5 seats, battle one-way in 12
KOLKATA: The electoral battle in Bengal was cut-throat and decisive, as far as the margin is concerned. In as many as five constituencies, each having over 16 lakh voters, the victory margin was less than 20,000. The margin was most decisive in as many as 12 constituencies where it was over 2 lakh.
The slimmest margin was in Arambagh where Trinamool’s Aparupa Poddar defeated BJP’s Tapan Ray by 1142 votes. The most decisive polling happened at Darjeeling with Raju Bista of BJP winning the poll with the widest margin — 413443 votes — over Trinamool’s Amar Singh Rai. Bista got over 73% votes in Kalimpong and Darjeeling and trailed in only one assembly segment — Chopra.
The margin in Darjeeling is more than double than that achieved by S S Ahluwalia in 2014 — 1,97,239.
In fact, in most of the wide-margin seats in Bengal, the winner has won with a greater margin compared to the last poll. This, poll pundits said, is a decisive poll where the people’s vote came one-way — either to the Trinamool or to its challenger BJP.

In fact, in as many as six seats, the Trinamool candidates have better tally (margin) compared to their figure in 2014. In Basirhat, where Trinamool’s tally was 1.1 lakh in 2014, the ruling party’s margin improved to 3.5 lakh. In Diamond Harbour, in 2014, Trinamool candidate Abhishek Banerjee had a victory margin of over 71,000 votes. In Jadavpur, Joynagar, Mathurapur and Uluberia, also, the victory margin of Trinamool has improved remarkably.
As far as slim-margin seats are concerned, the fight was cut-throat with both the incumbent and challenger enjoying almost equal influence. In Arambagh, Trinamool is ahead in four assembly segments — Arambagh, Chandrakona, Haripal, Tarakeshwar and Khanakul — with a very slim margin. BJP, on the other hand, is ahead in two segments — Pursura and Khanakul — with wide margin. CPM candidate Shakti Mohan Malik also secured over 1 lakh vote.

Narendra Modi Amit Shah Bimal Gurung Raju Bista in BJP banner
Gorkha Janamukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung, who is in hiding, Friday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the resounding victory of BJP and hoped that his new government will look into the long standing demand for Gorkhaland.

Gurung's faction of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha had supported BJP's Raju Bisht has recorded a massive victory against TMC's Amar Singh Rai.

In Darjeeling by-election, Neeraj Tamang Zimba of BJP defeated GJM leader Binoy Tamang, who fought as an independent candidate with TMC support.

"We are very happy that BJP has won and TMC and the traitors of GJM have lost the polls. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We will request the BJP leadership and the new government to look into our long standing demand of Gorkhaland," Gurung told PTI over phone.

The BJP, which has won for the third straight time in Darjeeling, had made no mention of the statehood issue in its manifesto but assured a "permanent political solution" in the hills and scheduled tribe tags for 11 Gorka communities.

In the Darjeeling hills the Lok Sabha polls were more than a political battle between TMC and BJP as it became a fight to the finish between GJM's two warring factions - one led by Bimal Gurung, who supported Bisht, and his one time protege Binay Tamang who supported Rai.

"Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa, the newly appointed officiating chairman of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), should immediately resign from the party and GTA. The GTA should be dissolved," Gurung said.

Roshan Giri, general secretary of GJM faction of Bimal Gurung, in a statement said the defeat of TMC and its proxies in the Lok Sabha and assembly by-polls is a clear mandate against the regional party and its proxies in the hills and in favour of a permanent political solution in the Hill region.

"On behalf of my party and my coalition partners, I demand that all the nominated members of the GTA board of administrators be made to resign and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration be immediately dissolved so that talks can be initiated to find a permanent political solution to the perennial political problem facing the region," he said. (PTI)

Raju Bista Neeraj Zimba Lopsang Lama Mann Ghisingh NB Chhetri in BJP mmeting
In early-March, when the BJP announced the name of Raju Singh Bista as its candidate for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat, the confounded question in everyone’s mind was “Raju who?”.
Many scrambled to search his name on social media sites and when it was discovered that Bista was a Manipur-origin entrepreneur, there was considerable skepticism.
Bista, however, took to campaigning like a duck to water. Supported strongly by the fugitive Gorka Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung, and backed by the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and some other Hill parties, Bista’s rallies, meetings and campaigns soon picked up steam.
And in the end, he not only crushed the Trinamool Congress candidate Amar Singh Rai, but also posted the highest victory margin (of more than 4.13 lakh votes) in Bengal. Bista got 59.19% of the votes while Rai got 26.56%, much less than half of the Bista’s vote share.
The BJP then went on to pull out another surprise: it named GNLF spokesperson Neeraj Tamang Zimba, a lawyer, as its candidate for the Darjeeling Assembly seat. Bypolls for this seat was announced in the middle of the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls and was necessitated by the resignation of Amar Singh Rai, the Trinamool’s Darjeeling Lok Sabha candidate.
Rai had won the Darjeeling Assembly seat in 2016 on a GJM ticket, but sided with the renegade Binay Tamang faction of the Morcha when the Mamata Banerjee government let loose a reign of terror in order to suppress the agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland in 2017. Tamang had ditched Gurung and formed a rival faction of the Morcha that aligned with the Trinamool.
Tamang, backed by the Trinamool, filed his nomination papers as an Independent candidate for the Darjeeling Assembly seat. Zimba, the BJP candidate, was strongly endorsed by Bimal Gurung. And in the elections, he inflicted a crushing defeat on Tamang. Zimba trounced Tamang by 46, 538 votes. Zimba’s vote share and victory margin was more than twice that of Tamang’s votes and vote share.
The results have proved that Bimal Gurung, despite his current status of a ‘fugitive’, enjoys unsurpassed popularity in the Darjeeling Hills and among the Gorkhas. Gurung is on the run since a huge number of allegedly false cases have been filed against him by the Bengal Police.
He also fears for his life and has been in hiding for more than 2.5 years now. However, he keeps in regular touch with the people of Darjeeling and the Gorkhas through audio and video recordings of his messages.
These clips are widely circulated in the Hills and among the Gorkhas. It was his express endorsement of Bista and Zimba which helped them win the Darjeeling Lok Sabha and Assembly seats respectively.
Incidentally, Gurung’s appeal to Gorkhas to support the BJP candidates in Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri Lok Sabha seats also contributed significantly to their victories. Gorkhas form a substantial chunk of the electorate in both these seats.

BJP two candidates Neeraj Zimba and Raju Bista won by record margin in Darjeeling
Darjeeling: The Modi wave that led to a landslide victory for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), securing over 300 seats across the country, made a remarkable impact in the Parliamentary elections and assembly by-polls in the Darjeeling region as well.
BJP candidate Neeraj Tamang Zimba won the assembly by-polls defeating Trinamool Congress (TMC)-supported independent candidate Binoy Tamang by a margin of 46,538 votes. While Zimba polled 88,161 votes, Tamang got 41,623.
The by-election to the Darjeeling assembly constituency was held on May 19 this year. Since sitting Darjeeling MLA Amar Singh Rai, who had won the seat on a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) ticket, wanted to contest Parliamentary elections on a TMC ticket, he was forced to resign from the seat to be eligible. This prompted the by-election to the Darjeeling assembly seat.
Similarly, the saffron party's Raju Bista won the Darjeeling Parliamentary constituency by an overwhelming margin of 4,13,443 votes against his nearest opponent, TMC’s Amar Singh Rai, who secured 3,36,624 votes. The 35-year-old Bista managed to secure 7,50,067 votes -- 59.19% of the total votes in the constituency. Bista is a Delhi-based entrepreneur hailing from Manipur’s Kangpokpi district.
It took many by surprise when the BJP decided to field Bista, as the party’s candidate for the Darjeeling parliamentary constituency. However, it was a smart move on the party’s part to find a young Gorkha from Manipur in the politically hostile hill district as many were not happy with the performance of veteran BJP leader SS Ahluwalia as their MP.
The achievements made by BJP this year indeed shows the party’s stunning inroads in Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal, showing a virtual saffron sweep in the state's northern parts, as also the western tribal heartland.

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