Kolkata, May 22: The outcome of the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal - arguably the most exciting that went to polls in seven phases from April 11 to May 19 - will be out on Thursday, with the fate of 466 candidates from 42 seats to be decided.
After exit poll results predicted an exponential leap in West Bengal this time for the BJP, which won only two parliament seats in the state in 2014, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has been in "jittery" and "nervous", sources said, hours before counting of votes begins on Thursday.
"Going by what exit polls have indicated, it is natural for us to be nervous," a senior TMC party leader said on Wednesday.Although various polls have prophesied better results for the BJP but Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress, which has been ruling Bengal for the last eight years, still asserts victory on the most Lok Sabha seats in the state, but except News18-IPSOS no exit poll so far gives it a chance of winning the 34 seats it won in 2014.
Another source in the ruling party said, "The situation is grim, but the internal report of the party on the outcome is not as bad as projected by exit polls."The ABP exit polls gave the BJP 16 seats, TMC 24 seats, Congress and others two seats. The Left got none. The India Today-Axis My India exit polls predicted 19 to 22 seats for the TMC and 19 to 23 seats for the BJP.
The Republic C-Voter survey put TMC in the lead with 29 followed by BJP at 11 and Congress at two seats. The C-Voter numbers were similar to Republic TV-Jan Ki Baat exit poll. Both also gave zero seats to the Left Front in West Bengal. However, the News18-IPSOS Exit Poll predicted 36 to 38 seats for the TMC. It predicted 3-5 seats for BJP and 0-1 seats for others.
Bengal is a focus state where the BJP deployed its entire might to win at least 22-23 seats, triggering a virulent, no-holds-barred counter-attack from the TMC with Mamata Banerjee vowing to make a clean sweep in the state. Her resolve stems from the compulsion to protect her home turf as well as emerging as a key player in Delhi if the opposition parties get a shot at power.
Earlier, after the exit poll results announced by various media organizations on Sunday, TMC supremo tweeted, “I don’t trust Exit Poll gossip. The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip. I appeal to all Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold. We will fight this battle together.”
Meanwhile, after the last phase of Lok Sabha elections on Sunday, candidates of all the parties were on Wednesday seen relaxing and exhausted. For the past two and half months, the candidates and their family members were busy in extensive campaigning in their bid to reach the maximum voters. UNI