Ma­mata & Left Likely to Re­tain Their Tally

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - TA­MAL SEN­GUPTA

The exit polls for the 2014 gen­eral elec­tions un­veiled Mon­day put the rul­ing Tri­namool Congress ahead of its near­est com­peti­tor, the Left Front, in the key state of West Ben­gal, which elects 42 law­mak­ers, with Congress and the BJP way be­hind. T he CN N-I BN pol l gave T r i n a mool 2 5 - 3 1 s e at s , c o mpared with the 20 it won in 2009. It gave the Left Front be­tween 7 and 11 seats, lower than the 15 it got in the last gen­eral elec­tions. The Congress is seen get­ting 2-4 seats and the BJP 1-3 seats. The ABP Ananda-AC Nielsen sur­vey was broadly sim­i­lar, giv­ing Tri­namool 24 seats, the Left Front 12 seats, Congress five seats and the BJP just one. Congress had won six in 2009, and the BJP one.

The Times Now-ORG exit poll, how­ever, put Tri namool at 21 se at s, lower t ha n what many pre­dicted, with the Left Front at a hi g her-t han- ex­pected 15. The chan­nel gave Congress five s e at s , wit h B J P win­ning in two. The pol ls by CNN-IBN and ABP Ananda-AC Nielsen might be the clos­est to the even­tual tally, ex­perts said, al­though both could have ig­nored the­fact­thatthevot­ersinthe18-28age group­may­have­plumped­fortheBJP.

“Per­son­ally, I think we might win be­tween 2 5 to 2 8 seats de - spite the fact that we are fight­ing a four-cor­nered con­test in most places. We ex­pect to win a sig­nif­i­cant chunk of Congress votes,” said a Tri­namool Congress min­is­ter in Chief Min­is­ter Ma­mata Ban­er­jee’s state cab­i­net. T he mi ni st er felt Narend r a Modi’s at­tack on Ban­er­jee might be one rea­son why the saf­fron party will not be able to do as well as it ex­pected. Modi and Ban­ner­jee were in­volved in a slang­ing match, es­pe­cially to­ward the end of the cam­paign, leading the TMC to say that it was “shut­ting its doors” on sup­port­ing any govern­ment with BJP and Modi in it. Mo­hammed Salim, part of the CPI-M’s think tank, seemed con­fi­dent of the resur­gence in the party’s for­tunes, af­ter the drub­bing it re­ceived in the state as­sem­bly elec­tions in 2011.

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