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Indian Prime Minister's party suffers humiliating defeat in West Bengal elections

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One of India's feistiest opposition parties cruised to victory in state elections in West Bengal on Sunday, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a campaign held during a catastrophic surge in Covid-19 infections, the New York Times reported.

The prime minister's rightwing Bhartia Janta Party (BJP) lost big in West Bengal amid criticism that his mishandling of the pandemic had fueled a catastrophic surge of cases in India.

The bigger feat is that TMC is led by Mamata Banerjee, India's only female chief minister, who has developed her own reputation as a street fighter strong enough to ward o the most withering attacks from the BJP.

"The West Bengal results tell us that Modi's personal, divisive and aggressive campaign in West Bengal backfired," Gilles Verniers, a professor of political science at Ashoka University near New Delhi told New York Times.

"It is a stupendous performance by Mamata Banerjee because Modi was determined to win Bengal, but it's clear that his entire political machinery and strategy was unable to defeat her," said Diptendu Bhaskar, a political analyst in Kolkata, West Bengal's capital.

The final tally of the West Bengal Assembly election results indicates that the Trinamool Congress has won 213 seats. This is its highest tally in the House. In terms of vote share, it has registered an all-time high of 47.9% votes. In 2016, it won 211 seats and registered a vote share of 44.9%. The BJP has won 77 seats, registering a 38.1% vote share.

Trinamool Congress successful in consolidating Muslim votes

The Trinamool Congress which scored a landslide victory in the assembly elections was successful in consolidating the Muslim votes and that had a direct impact on the results of the election, Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) reported adding: Of the 63 Muslim dominated assembly constituencies elections were held in 61 constituencies and the Trinamool Congress won 58 of them leaving two for the BJP and one for the Sanjukata Morcha.

The bulk of the Muslim dominated seats are mostly in four districts -- Murshidabad, Malda, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas. While Murshidabad has 16 Muslim dominated seats among the total 22 Assembly seats the rest of the three districts have 9 assembly seats each. However, elections were held in 61 of these total 63 seats because elections in two districts - Samserganj and Jangipur - were deferred because of the death of candidates. Among the rest of the 61 seats the Trinamool Congress managed to get 58 seats.

Nandigram officer didn't order recounting as he feared for life: Mamata

In the hotly contested Nandigram seat, BJP's Suvendu Adhikari defeated his former party chief Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram. However, Mamata has moved the Election Commission requesting recounting of votes in the constituency.

Mamata Banerjee said on Monday the election officer of Nandigram did not order recounting of votes even after she demanded it as he feared for his life.

Addressing a press conference, Banerjee made public a SMS from the election officer to an official in the office of the state's Chief Electoral Officer, where he voiced fear he could face dire consequences if he ordered recounting, and may even have to die by suicide.

"How can EC reverse Nandigram result after formally announcing it? We will move court against this," she said adding: "Why was the server down for four hours? We are willing to accept people's mandate but if the result of one place has anomalies, there may be something beyond what appears. We have to seek the truth."

Hitting out at the Election Commission, she said that the BJP would not have crossed the 50 seat mark if the poll panel had not helped it.

Tamil Nadu: After a decade in Opposition, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) won a convincing victory over arch-rival All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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