West Bengal, seen as a key battlefield, has never been ruled by Modi Bharatiya Janata’s (BJP) party, despite an aggressive campaign and mass rallies.
Mama Banerjee, 66, will be the head of West Bengal for the third time after her party from the Trinamool (TMC) Congress won a two-thirds majority, holding more than 200 seats in the 294-seat state assembly, election commission officials said. The final count in some places was still going on.
Banerjee is currently India’s only female minister.
Despite the defeat, the BJP made significant gains and became the main opposition party. His total number in the state legislature has reached nearly 80 seats, compared to just three seats won in the last state election in 201
Modi, his colleagues and regional politicians campaigned in five state elections, including West Bengal, despite the second wave of Covid-19 – sparking criticism that the prime minister is focusing on the election instead of making the pandemic a top priority.
Some experts accuse the Federal Election Commission of allowing rallies and voting in which a large crowd violates rules for social distancing and wearing masks.
Banerjee, a sharp critic of Modi, largely campaigned with a woman to retain power, leading dozens of public rallies.
“This is an amazing performance by Mama Banerjee because Modi was determined to win Bengal, but it is clear that his entire political machine and strategy failed to defeat her,” said Dippendu Bascar, a political analyst in Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal.
After the final outfits were released, Modi greeted Banerjee in a tweet on Sunday night. “The center will continue to provide all possible support to the West Bengal government to fulfill the aspirations of the people and also to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic,” he wrote.
In the northeastern state, Assam BJP managed to retain power. In Tamil Nadu, the victory went to DMK, the main regional opposition party.
In Kerala, the ruling left-wing political party had to form a government until the BJP-led alliance won seats. In Puducherry’s trade union territory, Congress-led Alliance of India NR led the assembly in 14 of the 30 seats.
Most votes were cast in March, but polls in some constituencies continued until April, just as India began detecting thousands of new coronavirus infections every day.
Additional reports by Sungam Pokharel from CNN and Swati Gupta.