Lok Sabha elections 2019 in 42 parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal took place in all seven phases held between April 11 and May 19. The state, which has been marred by violence since the first day of the marathon General Elections, has witnessed a bitter battle between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Left Front and the Congress are fighting for their survival as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has taken the number two spot in the state.
West Bengal, where BJP's previous performances got stuck to mere two seats, has become a key state for the party to focus on this election season. The reasons include the AITC's ostensive appeasement policy to the minority, it’s rampant corruption and arrogance despite some good works for the rural Bengal and a vacuum in the opposition space, with the mainstream opposition - Left and the Congress losing its support base rigorously. Lastly, the presence of millions of Hindu refugees, which made the state a soft underbelly of Hindutva politics, also gave the BJP a golden opportunity to beat the AITC.
As India eagerly awaits the May 23 Lok Sabha verdict, following the closure of the General Elections 2019, let’s have a quick look at the key contests, seats and prominent faces in West Bengal.
1. Cooch Behar (2014 Result: Trinamool, Winner: Renuka Sinha, Margin: 87,107)
2019 candidates: Paresh Chandra Adhikari (Trinamool) Vs Nisith Pramanik (BJP) Vs Priya Roy Chowdhury (Congress) Vs Gobinda Roy (AIFB)
Cooch Behar has been All India Forward Bloc's (AIFB) stronghold but the Trinamool Congress trumped it in the 2014 polls and repeated its success in the 2016 bypolls that were necessitated after the death of sitting MP Renuka Sinha. Sinha defeated AIFB candidate Dipak Kumar Roy in 2014 by a margin of 87,107 votes. Trinamool's Partha Pratim Roy won a bypoll in 2016 that saw the BJP emerging as the runner up. The Trinamool Congress has given its ticket to Paresh Chandra Adhikari this time. AIFB's Amarendranath Roy Pradhan won the seat for 8 consecutive terms. The Congress party last won it in 1971.
1. Darjeeling (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: SS Ahluwalia, Margin: 1,97,239)
2019 candidates: Raju Singh Bisht (BJP) Vs Shankar Malakar (Congress) Vs Amar Singh Rai (Trinamool) Vs Saman Pathak (CPM)
The BJP will be facing a tough task to retain Darjeeling this time after the split with the GJM. The party won the seat in 2009 and 2014 with the support of the GJM. Jaswant Singh won the seat in 2009 whereas SS Ahluwalia retained it for the party in 2014. However, the saffron party has fielded Raju Singh Bisht to take on Trinamool's Amar Singh Rai and CPM's Saman Pathak. In the last seven elections, the CPM won the seat thrice in 1996, 1998 and 1999.
2. Raiganj (2014 Result: CPM, Winner: Md Salim, Margin: 1,634)
2019 candidates: Deepa Dasmunshi (Congress) Vs Kanaia Lal Agarwal (Trinamool) Vs Md Salim (CPM) Vs Deboshree Chaudhary (BJP)
In 2014, Raiganj was one of the two seats won by the CPM in the state. Party's Md Salim defeated Congress candidate and Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi's wife Deepa Dasmunshi in a very close contest with over 1,600 votes. Salim will be facing Deepa again this time with BJP's Deboshree Chaudhary and Trinamool's KL Agarwal are also in the fray. Priyaranjan Dasmunshi won the seat twice in 1999 and 2004.
1. Jangipur (2014 Result: Congress, Winner: Abhijit Mukherjee, Margin: 8,161)
2019 candidates: Abhijit Mukherjee (Congress) Vs Mafuja Khatun (BJP) Vs Zulfiqar Ali (CPM) Vs Khalilur Rahman (Trinamool)
Former president Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee won the Jangipur seat with a slim margin of over 8,000 votes in 2014, which he won for the first time in a 2012 bypoll after his father left the seat. Pranab Mukherjer won the seat twice in 2004 and 2009. CPM's Abul Hasnat Khan represented the seat twice in 1998 and 1999.
2. Maldaha Uttar (2014 Result: Congress, Winner: Mausam Noor, Margin: 65,705)
2019 candidates: Isha Khan Choudhury (Congress) Vs Mausam Noor (Trinamool) Vs Bishwanath Ghosh (CPM) Vs Khagen Murmu (BJP)
Maldaha Uttar will see a change this time after Mausam Noor, the two-time Congress MP, left the Grand Old Party and joined the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress. Noor is seeking a re-election but on a Trinamool ticket this time and will be facing Congress leader Isha Khan Choudhury and BJP's Khagen Murmu.
1. Asansol (2014 Result: BJP, Winner: Babul Supriyo, Margin: 70,480)
2019 candidates: Babul Supriyo (BJP) Vs Biswarup Mondal (Congress) Vs Moon Moon Sen (Trinamool) Vs Gouranga Chatterjee (CPM)
The BJP breached the Left bastion of Asansol in 2014 for the first time. Singer-turned-politician Babul Supriyo defeated Trinamool candidate Dola Sen by over 70,000 votes in 2014. Supriyo is taking on Trinamool's Moon Moon Sen and CPM's Gouranga Chatterjee this time. Before 2014. the CPM won the seat eight times in a row in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005 (bypoll) and 2009.
2. Bardhaman-Durgapur (2014 Result: Trinamool, Winner: Mamtaz Sanghamita, Margin: 1,07,331)
2019 candidates: SS Ahluwalia (BJP) Vs Abhas Roy Chowdhury (CPM) Vs Mamtaz Sanghamita (Trinamool) Vs Ranajit Mukherjee (Congress)
BJP leader and Union Minister SS Ahluwalia was shifted from his Darjeeling seat to Bardhaman-Durgapur this time. He is contesting against Trinamool's sitting MP Mamtaz Sanghamita and CPM's Abhas Roy Chowdhury. In 2009, CPM's Saidul Haque represented the constituency.
3. Baharampur (2014 Result: Congress, Winner: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Margin: 3,56,567)
2019 candidates: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (Congress) Vs Krishna Juardar Arya (BJP) Vs Apurba Sarkar (Trinamool) Vs Id Mohammad (RSP)
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury won the seat four times in a row in 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014. In 2014, he won the seat with a massive margin of over 3,50,000 votes. Earlier, the RSP represented the constituency five times in 1989, 1991, 1994 (bypoll), 1996 and 1998. Chowdhury is facing BJP's Krishna Juardar Arya and Trinamool's Apurba Sarkar this time.
1. Barrackpur (2014 Result: Trinamool, Winner: Dinesh Trivedi, Margin: 2,06,773)
2019 candidates: Dinesh Trivedi (Trinamool) Vs Gargi Chatterjee (CPM) Vs Arjun Singh (BJP) Vs Md Alam (Congress)
Trinamool Congress leader and former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi is locked in a fierce battle with BJP's Arjun Singh this time. Singh was the four-time Trinamool MLA before he joined the BJP. Trivedi won the seat in 2009 and 2014. CPM's Tarit Baran Topdar represented the constituency six times in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004. Congress candidate Md Alam and CPM's Gargi Chatterjee are also in the fray.
1. Medinipur (2014 Result: Trinamool, Winner: Sandhya Roy, Margin: 1,85,128)
2019 candidates: Dilip Ghosh (BJP) Vs Manas Bhunia (AITC) Vs Biplab Bhatt (CPI) Vs Sambhunath Chatterjee (Congress)
The Medinipur parliamentary constituency, which has been a stronghold of the Communist Party of India (CPI) was taken over by the Trinamool Congress in 2014. Sandhya Roy of the ruling AITC defeated the CPI’s Probodh Panda, who had represented the Medinipur Lok Sabha seat since 2001, in the general election in 2014. Before Panda, the CPI has held the Medinipur general seat since 1980.
1. Diamond Harbour (2014 Result: Trinamool, Winner: Abhishek Banerjee, Margin: 71,298)
2019 candidates: Abhishek Banerjee (Trinamool) Vs Nilanjan Roy (BJP) Vs Soumya Aich Roy (Congress) Vs Fuad Halim (CPM)
In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee beat Dr Abul Hasnat of the CPI (M) by receiving 40.30 per cent of the total votes cast in the Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha constituency.
2. Kolkata Uttar (2014 Result: Trinamool, Winner: Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Margin: 96,226)
2019 candidates: Sudip Bandyopadhyay (Trinamool) Vs Rahul Sinha (BJP) Vs Kaninika Bose Ghosh (CPM) Vs Syed Shahid Imam (Congress)
In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, Sudip Bandyopadhyay beat BJP candidate Rahul Sinha, securing 36.00 per cent of the votes cast in the Kolkata Uttar parliamentary seat.
3. Kolkata Dakshin (2014 Result: Trinamool, Winner: Subrata Bakshi, Margin: 1,36,339)
2019 candidates: Chandra Kumar Bose (BJP) Vs Mita Chakraborty (Congress) Vs Nandini Mukherjee (CPM) Vs Mala Roy (Trinamool)
In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, Subrata Bakshi defeated BJP's Tathagata Roy by winning 37.00 per cent of the votes cast in the Kolkata Dakshin constituency.