State BJP chief Dilip Ghosh has played down the Trinamool’s super showing in counting for the 2021 Bengal Assembly election – trends show the ruling party will win 200+ seats to the BJP’s 80-odd. He pointed out that his party trailed narrowly in 50+ seats and the result could still “swing in our favour”.
Mr Ghosh also took a swipe at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee – he said it is “funny” that Ms Banerjee is trailing in Nandigram, where she faces the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, her former lieutenant.
“Nothing has happened (yet)… we are still in the contest and the final result is awaited. There has been a swing away from us in many seats… but there are many seats where BJP is trailing only by a slender margin, and so it may swing in our favour in the next few hours,” Mr Ghosh told NDTV.
“… must keep in mind counting (in a) pandemic is much slower than usual. So, there are many rounds of counting remaining and the leads as they stand may very well change,” he said.
“There are more than 50 seats where we are trailing by a very small margin, and we believe that will change in our favour in the rounds to come… there are more than 20 rounds of counting to go. So, we are waiting and watching,” he added.
Mr Ghosh also mocked Mamata Banerjee for trailing in her chosen seat – Nandigram.
“It is funny that Mamata Banerjee, the face of the Trinamool, is trailing and may lose… How can the party leader lose and the party win by a big margin?” he asked.
Nandigram catapulted Ms Banerjee to power in 2011, and is the scene of a high-profile clash between her and Mr Adhikari, whose switch to the BJP led to a flood of defections from the Trinamool.
Asked about the overall trends, Mr Ghosh said he and his party would respect the people’s will, but pointed out the enormous gain from 2016, when the BJP won just three of the 291 seats it contested.
“We fought the election to win, as do all parties, and we will respect the mandate of the people, whatever that may be, when the final results are declared,” he said.
The state BJP chief also downplayed links between the extended (Bengal voted over a contentious eight phases) election and the frightening spike in Covid cases following weeks of rallies and roadshows – held by all major political parties – that violated all Covid norms.
“Look… there is a Covid surge and nobody denies that. But don’t point only at Bengal. States like Maharashtra and Delhi are the worst affected. Have there been elections there? No. So, if you highlight only Bengal then that is pure politics…” he declared.