The long campaign for the West Bengal Assembly election came to an end on Monday with both the Trinamool Congress and BJP claiming they would have a thumping win and cross 200 seats come May 2, an assertion that was as polarised as the campaign run by both the sides.
The state has 294 Assembly seats and the last day of campaign saw both the party chiefs JP Nadda and Mamata Banerjee fire their last salvos at each other.
The chief minister exuded confidence that her party will win over 200 seats, while the BJP would not cross the 70-seat mark, an assertion even more conservative than the party’s poll strategist Prashant Kishor who has claimed the BJP’s wins would be limited to 100 constituencies.
Nadda said his party had already crossed the majority mark (148) by the sixth phase of the polling and it would only add more numbers by the time all eight phases have polled. He said people had reposed their faith strongly in the saffron camp.
“We are not that party which says that if we win, we are kings but if we lose let us blame the EVM. The loss is showing on the CM’s rattled face and she should remember that she never blamed the Election Commission when she won earlier elections in West Bengal. She is like the losing player who is already blaming the umpire,” Nadda said.
Banerjee has said the EC was acting like a “mouthpiece of the BJP” in the election and she and her party were treated like an opposition camp in the state and this she would not forget. “They want to break down the backbone of Bengal as they know that if Bengal survives and we win, the whole of India will come together against the BJP,” the CM said.
She said her fight was to “save Bengal” as it was the only place where people could protest against the policies of the Narendra Modi government while accusing the Prime Minister of being responsible for spread of the coronavirus in India.
Nadda said Banerjee had run a negative campaign based on false narratives and neither gave a report card on her governance for 10 years nor a roadmap for the way ahead.
“All she wanted to do was to provoke violence by using bad language against our top leaders and propagate fear and hate” the BJP president said.
He said it was an unprecedented election in that sense as the CM sought votes based on religion, tried to play politics on bodies and painted the party of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee as “outsiders”, besides calling for ghereo of security forces. “In fact, we represent the real Bengali culture as we ran a positive and mature campaign based on issues of development” Nadda claimed, adding that the CM ran a campaign devoid of ethics or maturity.
Banerjee ended the campaign on a note of warning for those leaders of her party who deserted her and joined the BJP, like Suvendu Adhikari and Dinesh Trivedi, but stopped short of naming them.
“I will never open the doors of the party after coming to power again for all these Mir Jafars (commonly used to refer to traitors) who went and joined the BJP… I can forgive anyone, but the Mir Jafars,” she said.
The last phase of polling will take place on April 29 and the results will be out on May 2.