Hindi-speaking voters, who had ensured leads for the BJP at both the assembly constituencies in 2019, seem to have turned away from the party. Vivek Gupta of TMC doubled the party’s lead from Jorasanko (which Trinamool’s Smita Bakshi had won five years ago).
Among the 11 wards under this constituency, BJP led in 5 and TMC in 6. In the constituency that covers Burrabazar, Posta, College Street and Girish Park, the TMC always enjoyed dominance in wards like 37 and 38, which has a substancial Muslim population.
But it is the results in certain wards which are represented by BJP councillors like Meena Devi Purohit, Sunita Jawar and Vijay Ojha that has surprised the party. BJP’s substantial Lok Sabha leads have eroded in these key wards.
Purohit led her own ward, 22, by 3,117 votes. But even this margin was half of what BJP had gained in 2019. Similarly, in Ward 25, a lead of over 4,000 votes in 2019 has come down to 1,845. BJP this time led in wards 22, 23, 25, 27 and 42, while Trinamool led in wards 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 and 43.
At Shyampukur, the party was ahead only in wards 21 and 24, with leads of less than 1,000 votes in each ward. BJP claimed that the Covid scare could have been a reason behind “poor polling”.
“People did not come out to vote. In Ward 22, merely 5,000-odd votes were cast out of 12,000 votes,” said Purohit.
Anindya Raut of Trinamool countered the findings. “The BJP tried to mislead the Hindi-speaking voters in 2019. The voters now know that TMC stands for inclusivity,” said Raut.
Trinamool insiders point out how chief minister Mamata Banerjee tried to adopt the community since last year.
“In September last year, she had wished the Hindi-speaking people on Hindi Divas, announced restructuring of the state’s virtually non-functional Hindi Academy and revived the party’s Hindi cell,” said a party insider.