Despite aggression campaigns and massive rallies, West Bengal, considered a major battleground, has never been ruled by Modi’s BJP.
Mamata Banerjee, 66, is set to become West Bengal’s chief minister for the third time after her Trinamool Congress (TMC) won a two-thirds majority, holding more than 200 seats in the 294-member state assembly, Election Commission officials said. The final count for some places is still ongoing.
Banerjee is now the only woman Chief Minister of India.
Despite the defeat, the BJP made significant gains and became the main opposition. Its number in the state legislature went up to almost 80 seats, compared to the three seats it won in the last three elections in the last 2016 election.
Despite the second wave of Govt-19, Modi, his colleagues and regional politicians campaigned in five state elections, including West Bengal – sparking criticism that the PM was focusing on elections instead of making the epidemic his priority.
Some experts blame the Central Electoral Commission for allowing rallies and voting, in which a large crowd violated the rules on social exclusion and wearing a mask.
Banerjee, a fierce critic of Modi, largely campaigned for a woman to retain power in public rallies.
“This is Mamata Banerjee’s amazing performance because Modi was determined to defeat Bengal, but it is clear that her entire political machinery and strategy could not defeat her,” said Diptend Bhaskar, a political analyst in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal.
After the final ratings were released, he congratulated Moni Banerjee in a tweet on Sunday evening. “The Center will continue to extend all support to the Government of West Bengal to fulfill the aspirations of the people and tackle the Govt-19 epidemic,” he wrote.
In the northeastern state of Assam, the BJP was able to retain power. In Tamil Nadu, the victory went to the main regional opposition DMK.
In the state of Kerala, the ruling left-wing political party was set to form the government, while the BJP-led coalition won no seats. In the Union Territory of Pondicherry, the All India NR Congress-led alliance was leading in 14 of the 30 seats.
Most of the votes were cast in March, but in some constituencies voting continued until April, when India began to detect thousands of new corona virus infections every day.
Additional report by CNN’s Sugam Bokarel and Swati Gupta.