The countdown for the 2021 Assembly election in West Bengal has begun. While Mamata Banerjee’s ruling TMC seems to be confident of coming back to power for the third time in a row with an absolute majority, the BJP is in pressure to retain their success during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections by wining 18 out of the 42 seats in the crucial east Indian state. BJP leaders want to win the assembly seats in these Lok Sabha constituencies and put them into their bag. Therefore, they are working overtime to ensure sure victories. BJP’s political journey in West Bengal has seen many ups and downs. Lets take a look at the chronology of how the BJP set its foot in Bengal.
The Bharatiya Janata Party contested the West Bengal assembly election for the first time in 1982. The primary objective of the party was to create a nucleus for a future third force in West Bengal politics. The party supported the call of the West Bengal government to hold the elections in March 1982. The party contested in 52 assembly constituencies and secured around 129,994 votes in the state.
- In 1984 Lok Sabha Election BJP contested on 9 seats and got 101165 (0.4%) votes.
- In 1987 the party contested from 57 constituencies and slightly increased its votes to 134,867.
- In 1989 Lok Sabha Election, BJP contested on 19 seats in West Bengal.
And got 529618 (1.67%) votes
The BJP had fielded 291 candidates across the state in 1991 Assembly elections and could managed to increase its share of votes from 0.51% in 1987 to 11.34 % with (3,513,121 votes). This was the first time BJP fielded such a large number of candidates in West Bengal assembly elections.
- In 1991 Lok Sabha election which took place simultaneously with the Assembly elections, BJP fielded 42 candidates and got 11.66% votes. Though BJP highlighted Ayodhya issue in their campaign across the country but in Bengal their campaign concentrated on agitations against immigration from Bangladesh. The campaign was meant to evoke Bengali memories of partition. Even as the support for the BJP has seen among Bengali communities, the main stronghold in the state remained the non Bengali Population s in Kolkata (former Calcutta).
- In 1996, both Assembly and Lok Sabha election the party contested in 292 Assembly constituencies and 42 for Lok Sabha. The Vote sharing was 6.45% and 6.88% respectively.
- In 1998, the BJP contested on 14 seats and won 1 Lok Sabha seat for the first time in West Bengal from Dumdum. Tapan Sikdar who was the Bengal‘s BJP state President won with 631383(50.7%) votes defeating his rival Nirmal Kanti Chatterjee of CPM.
- In 1999 BJP forged an alliance with Mamata’s All India Trinomial Congress and contested in 13 seats and won 2 Lok Sabha seats. The two elected member were Satyabrata Mukharjee from Krishannagar and Tapan Sikdar from Dumdum.
- In 2001 Assembly elections BJP contested for 266 constituency seats.
- In 2004 General election BJP did not win a single seats in Bengal.
- In 2006 BJP entered into an alliance with the All India Trinomial Congress and contested from 29 constituencies.
- In 2009 Indian general elections BJP candidate Jaswant Singh with support from from Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha won Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat
- In 2011 Assembly Election BJP got allied with GJM and did not get any seat.
- In 2014 General Election BJP won two seats.
- In 2016 Assembly elections the BJP in an alliance with GJM contested for 291 seats and occupied 3 seats in the assembly.
- In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the saffron party strengthen its base by winning 18 Lok Sabha seats out of 42 constituencies with (40.25%) votes. This was their best performance ever in Bengal.