In my last article ‘West Bengal Assembly Election 2021- Who will come out at top’ published on this platform on 28th February 2021, I did an analysis before any pre-poll survey where I concluded that BJP appears to be a bit ahead with caveats that ‘West Bengal’ is an emotional polity and things that should be done or avoided by both BJP and TMC. In the meantime, a lot of pre-poll surveys came out on West Bengal. There will be some other opinion polls also likely to come by the 25th before the first phase polling day. (27.03.2021).
In India, especially during the election period, a week is considered a long period. For the high voltage West Bengal election, things would change dramatically even in a couple of days. For example, Mamata Banerjee got a leg injury on 10th March 2021, during her post-nomination rally at Nandigram. Mamata accused BJP of conspiracy and attack which the Election Commissioner rejected later.
BJP responded by citing people who eye-witnessed the incident and saying that she was injured due to an iron pillar and she’s lying about the reason for the injury. Social media is full of pictures that Mamata Banerjee wasn’t seriously injured on one side and she was seriously injured on the other side. I am sure many of such claims through photos might be fake and manipulated. But then, I feel that Mamata Banerjee on a wheelchair campaign appears to be more appealing and may work wonders for her. On the other hand, BJP’s vehicle/Rath was also attacked at Purulia by alleged TMC workers. Every such incident will continue to tilt the mood of the uncertain public to either side on the given day.
However, the idea of this article is to gauge how public mood is being shaped today and where it would lead if there’s not so drastic emotional event. I have furnished the summary of opinion polls, below for better understanding.
For clarity and better comparison, we will consider ABP News C-Voters and ABP News- CNX, which have carried out surveys periodically.
As per C-Voter surveys, TMC had a vote share of 43% on the 18th January and 27th January poll which means there was no change in the estimated vote share. On the 8th March survey, TMC’s vote share reduced a bit to 42.2% but by the 15th March 2021 poll (within a week), its vote share again reached up to 43.4%. I can conclude that TMC’s vote share remained the same although dipped a little bit by 8th March but again reached up to the same level post her injury on 10th March.
ABC-CNX also estimates that TMC’s vote share has neither reduced drastically nor improved significantly. If I ignore its June 2020 opinion poll, then we will find that according to the ABP-CNX opinion poll, TMC is getting a vote share of 41% by 15t February 2021 opinion poll and 42% vote share in the 8th March opinion poll. A vote share of 42-43 % simply means that TMC is maintaining its vote share until the 15th March 2021 poll (of course the margin of error in such polls is 3% plus or minus).
According to C-Voter opinion polls of 18th January, 27th February, 8th March, and 15th March, the numbers are 37.5%, 38%, 37.5%, 38.4%. That means BJP also maintained its estimated vote share between 37-38%. ABP-CNX although shows that BJP’s vote share is reduced by 3% from 15th February poll to 8th march opinion poll but using 3% error margin, we can conclude that BJP’s vote share still remains the same in the range of 37-38%.
Left front vote share also remains almost in the 12-15% zone.
Therefore at the moment, it’s difficult to predict the seat numbers as the contests although appear to be TMC and BJP, but then in some places, it’s TMC versus LF and BJP versus Left front. In many places, the margin of the win might be less than 1000 votes.
TMC must be wanting no further decrease in the vote-share. As of now, it doesn’t appear that ISF, the ally of the Left Front and Congress able to dent any Muslim vote share of TMC. On the other hand, BJP’s stagnation at 37-38% vote share may be due to the induction of all TMC quitters into the party that raised some dissent inside the party.
Who will win West Bengal? Interestingly, opinion polls can give you the mood of people but elections are always won or lost at polling booths. It depends on the ground-level workers who can bring their voters to the polling booths. And in Bengal polity, most violence occurs in booth levels which either stops the rival party supporters to vote or nearly causes dominant workers to make rigging occur.
The eight-phase voting and huge deployment of CRPF police must be giving some relief to BJP as their supporters could come to the polling booth. But then post-poll violence is also a concern for the general public, especially in the rural areas.
If the present opinion polls are considered, then it’s TMC that would win as ISF fails to dent TMC’s vote share. On the other hand, if ISF even able to take away just a 2% vote share from TMC to the Left front, then BJP would win hands down. What a tyranny, it’s the Left Front and its ally ISF deciding whether BJP or TMC will win the Bengal election.
Let’s wait and see what really happens in this high voltage West Bengal Election. I won’t put my money on any party nor on the possibility of hung assembly as some people are thinking. It will be a decisive result but in whose favour, only time will tell.