- BJP achieves remarkable score in Bengal, ahead in 17 seats
- "Surprising," said Chandan Mitra who quit BJP to join Trinamool last year
- In 2014, the BJP had just won 2 seats in Bengal while Trinamool got 34
The BJP's remarkable score in West Bengal, a long-time Left bastion-turned-Trinamool fortress, was among the big stories of the national election as votes were counted on Thursday. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress is ahead in more seats, 22 of the 42 seats in the state, but the BJP is close with 18 seats. The Congress is leading in one seat.
Chandan Mitra, who quit the BJP last year to join the Trinamool, admitted he was surprised.
"This is definitely surprising. They were nowhere till a year ago... but in the last two elections they (BJP) have grown immensely... I would not be surprised If they are the government in waiting (in the state)... BJP has grown in Bengal," Chandan Mitra told NDTV.
The Trinamool Congress said it was Mr Mitra's "personal opinion and not the view of the party".
From two seats in 2014, the BJP has done phenomenally well in the state. The Trinamool had won 34 seats then.
The Left has been completely decimated, showed trends. Its support base had transferred to the BJP instead of the Trinamool Congress, analysts said as the results poured in.
The BJP performed particularly well in constituencies with substantial minority votes and border areas, in a sign that it had benefited from religious polarization.
The Bengal tally is among the key factors behind the BJP's massive victory with a higher total than 2014.
The assessment is that the BJP, on the back of its performance in the national election, will intensify its campaign to win Bengal in the 2021 assembly polls.