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How BJP's Chanakya met his waterloo in Bengal

May 19, 2021 08:40 IST
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The BJP could win only 16 out of the 57 seats in Bengal where Amit Shah campaigned, reports Syed Firdaus Ashraf/

IMAGE: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Amit Anilchandra Shah on a roadshow in West Bengal. Photograph: Kind courtesy Amit Shah/Twitter

The man they call Chanakya, Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union Home Minister Amit Anilchandra Shah, has never had such a bad outing in any election that he has spearheaded as in West Bengal.

Shah met his waterloo at the hands of Mamata Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress leader who was sworn in as Bengal's chief minister for the third consecutive term last fortnight.

Data compiled by Hemant Shivsharan/

Shah, who virtually camped in Bengal, addressed around 57 rallies for various BJP candidates but when the EVMs were opened on May 2, the outcome was far from expectations.

The BJP could win only 16 out of the 57 seats where Shah campaigned in his typical style.

His success rate: 28 per cent. 28.07 per cent, to be precise.

In other words, he failed to deliver for the BJP in 71.93 per cent seats of West Bengal.



Date Constituency Rallies addressed Result BJP candidate Trinamool candidate Won By Lost By
January 31 Howrah Uttar Public Meeting via Video Conferencing @ 12 noon Lost Umesh Rai Gautam Chowdhuri   5,522 votes
  Howrah Madhya   Lost Sanjay Singh Arup Roy, S/o Late Prabhat Roy   46,547 votes
  Howrah Dakshin   Lost Rantidev Sengupta Nandita Chowdhury   50,569 votes
February 11 Thakurnagar, Gaighata Public Rally, Thakurbari Ground @ 3.45 pm Won Subrata Thakur Narottam Biswas 9,578 votes  
February 18 Namkhana, Kakdwip Roadshow, Shamshan Kali Mandir @ 2.45 pm Lost Dipankar Jana Manturam Pakhira   25,302 votes
March 14 Kharagpur Roadshow from Prem Hari Bhawan, Malancha to Malancha Petrol Pump @ 5.15 pm Lost Tapan Bhuya Dinen Roy   36,230 votes
  Kharagpur Sadar   Won Hiranmoy Chattopadhyaya Pradip Sarkar 3,771 votes  
March 15 Jhargram Public Meeting, Jhargram Circus Ground @ 11.00 am Lost Sukhamay Satpathy (Jahar) Birbaha Hansda   38,240 votes
March 15 Ranibandh Public Meeting, Khatra A-Team Ground @ 1.00 pm Lost Kshudiram Tudu Jyotsna Mandi   3,939 votes
March 21 Egra, Purba Medinipur Public Meeting, Bali Ghai School Ground @ 12.30 pm Lost Arup Dash Tarun Kumar Maity   18,491 votes
March 21 Kolkata Launch of BJP's Sankalp Patra, East Zonal Cultural Center @ 5.30 pm Lost Awadh Kishore Gupta Firhad Hakim   68,554 votes
March 23 Gosaba Public Meeting @ 12 noon Lost Barun Pramanik (Chitta) Jayanta Naskar   23,709 votes
March 23 Medinipur Roadshow from Kiranitala to Goalkuan Chowk @ 3.00 pm Lost Samit Kumar Dash June Maliah   24,397 votes
March 25 Baghmundi, Purulia Public Meeting, Kusaldhi Cricket Stadium @ 11.30 am Won Sushanta Mahato Ashutosh Mahato (AJSU Party) 7,018 votes  
March 25 Gopiballavpur, Jhargram Public Meeting, Rogara Maidan @ 1.10 pm Lost Sanjit Mahata Dr Khagendra Nath Mahata   23,768 votes
March 25 Tamluk, Purba Medinipur Public Meeting, Village Shantipur @ 3.00 pm Lost Hare Krishna Bera Saumen Kumar Mahapatra   793 votes
March 25 Bishnupur, Bankura Public Meeting, Turki Math Play Ground @ 4.45 pm Lost Agniswar Naskar Dilip Mondal   58,832 votes
March 25 Bishnupur, Bankura Door to door distribution of Sonar Bangla Sankalp Patra@ 12.00 pm Won Tanmay Ghosh (Bumba) Archita Bid 11,420 votes  
March 30 Nandigram Roadshow @ 12 noon Won Adhikari Suvendu Mamata Banerjee 1,956 votes  
March 30 Debra Public Meeting @ 1.35 pm Lost Bharati Ghosh Humayun Kabir   11,226 votes
March 30 Panskura Paschim Public Meeting @  3.05 pm Lost Sintu Senapati Phiroja Bibi   8,889 votes
March 30 Diamond Harbour Public Meeting @ 4.40 pm Lost Dipak Kumar Halder Pannalal Halder   16,996 votes
April 2 Sitalkuchi Public Meeting @ 11.00 am Won Baren Chandra Barman Partha Pratim Ray 17,815 votes  
April 2 Kalchini Public Meeting @ 12.30 pm Won Bishal Lama Passang Lama 28,576 votes  
April 2 Baruipur Paschim Roadshow @ 3.00 pm Lost Debopam Chattopadhyaya (Babu) Biman Banerjee   61,910 votes
April 2 Arambag Public Meeting @ 4.30 pm Won Madhusudan Bag Sujata Mondal 7,172 votes  
April 7 Singur Roadshow @ 12 noon Lost Rabindranath Bhattacharya Becharam Manna   25,923 votes
April 7 Domjur Roadshow @ 1.30 pm Lost Rajib Banerjee S/O- Late Dhananjoy Banerjee Kalyan Ghosh   42,620 votes
April 7 Howrah Madhya Roadshow @ 3.00 pm          
April 7 Behala Purba Roadshow @ 4.30 pm Lost Payel Sarkar Ratna Chatterjee   37,428 votes
April 9 Kolkata Press Conference, Hotel Hindustan International @ 12 noon          
April 9 Bhabanipur Door to Door Campaign @ 2.00 pm Lost Rudranil Ghosh Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay   28,719 votes
April 9 Jagatdal Roadshow @ 4.00 pm Lost Arindam Bhattacharya Somenath Shyam Ichini   18,364 votes
April 9 Madhyamgram Roadshow @ 6.00 pm Lost Rajasree Rajbanshi Rathin Ghosh   48,126 votes
April 11 Santipur Roadshow @ 12.20 pm Won Jagannath Sarkar Ajoy Dey 15,878 votes  
April 11 Ranaghat Dakshin Roadshow @ 1.30 pm Won Mukut Mani Adhikari Barnali Dey Roy 16,515 votes  
April 11 Basirhat Dakshin Public Meeting @ 3.40 pm Lost Tarak Nath Ghosh Dr Saptarshi Banerjee   24,468 votes
April 11 Panihati Roadshow @ 4.25 pm Lost Sanmoy Bandyopadhyay Nirmal Ghosh   25,177 votes
April 11 Kamarhati Town Hall Meeting @ 5.30 pm Lost Anindya Banerjee Madan Mitra   35,408 votes
April 11 Rajarhat Gopalpur Town Hall Meeting @ 7.00 pm Lost Samik Bhattacharya Aditi Munshi   25,296 votes
April 12 Kalimpong Roadshow @ 11.30 am Lost Suva Pradhan Ruden Sada Lepcha (Independent)   3,870 votes
April 12 Dhupguri Public Meeting @ 1.40 pm Won Bishnu Pada Ray Mitali Roy 4,355 votes  
April 12 Hemtabad Roadshow @ 3.30 pm Lost Chandima Roy Satyajit Barman   27,215 votes
April 12 Siliguri Public Meeting @ 5.00 pm Won Sankar Ghosh Dr Omprakash Mishra 35,586 votes  
April 13 Darjeeling Public Meeting @ 11.30 am Won Neeraj Tamang Zimba Keshav Raj Sharma (Independent) 21,276 votes  
April 13 Nagrakata Public Meeting @ 12.45 pm Won Puna Bhengra Joseph Munda 23,475 votes  
April 13 Islampur Roadshow @ 2.20 pm Lost Saumyaroop Mandal Abdul Karim Chowdhary   37,440 votes
April 13 Bidhannagar Public Meeting @ 5.00 pm Lost Sabya Sachi Dutta Sujit Bose S/O - Late Ajit Bose   7,997 votes
April 17 Amdanga Roadshow @ 12.15 pm Lost Joydev Manna Rafiqur Rahaman   25,480 votes
April 17 Chapra Public Meeting @ 2.00 pm Lost Kalyan Kumar Nandi Rukbanur Rahman   15,698 votes
April 17 Ausgram Public Meeting @ 3.45 pm Lost Kalita Maji Abhedananda Thander   11,815 votes
April 18 Purbasthali Uttar Public Meeting @ 11.00 am Lost Gobardhan Das Tapan Chatterjee   6,706 votes
April 18 Nakashipara Roadshow @ 12 noon Lost Santanu Dey Kallol Khan   21,271 votes
April 18 Swarupnagar Public Meeting @ 1.45 pm Lost Brindaban Sarkar Bina Mondal   34,800 votes
April 18 Habra Roadshow @ 4.15 pm Lost Biswajit Sinha Jyoti Priya Mallick   3,841 votes
April 19 Pandaveswar Public Meeting @ 11.00 am Lost Kumar Jitendra Tewari Narendranath Chakraborty   3,803 votes
April 19 Chakulia Public Meeting @ 1.30 pm Lost        
April 19 Kaliaganj Public Meeting @ 2.45 pm Won Soumen Roy Tapan Deb Singha 21,820 votes  
April 19 Balurghat Roadshow @ 4.00 pm Won Ashok Kumar Lahiri Sekhar Dasgupta 13,436 votes  

Shah's worst show was in Kolkata where Firhad Hakim, the TMC minister and a lieutenant of Mamata Banerjee, defeated Awadh Kishor Gupta of the BJP by 68,554 votes.

Firhad's victory is significant because he stated before the elections that the BJP was trying to vitiate the communal atmosphere in his constituency by calling him Dhakaiya (a local pejorative used to describe people of Bangladeshi origin).

'I will die an Indian and my grave will be on Indian soil. However, for the sake of polarisation they (the BJP) label a person as a Muslim or a Pakistani. This is against (the spirit of) the Constitution, against the pride and ethics of India,' Hakim had stated in an interview with the Economic Times.

Another crushing defeat was at Baruipur Paschim where Shah had done a massive road show.

Here the BJP candidate, Debopam Chattopadhyaya, lost by 61,910 votes to the TMC's Biman Banerjee.

In 27 of the seats where Shah held rallies or roadshows, the BJP lost by more than 20,000 votes.

In 50 per cent of the assembly seats where Shah went on roadshows or held election rallies, BJP candidates lost badly and that too at a time when he proclaimed that the BJP would cross 200 seats in Bengal.

Prashant Kishor, Mamata Banerjee's election strategist, told The Telegraph, 'Amit Shah is the most over-rated politician and poll manager. A disaster. What does he have to show for his great and fabled election management?'

'He has the most charismatic leader in Narendra Modi to put on stage; he has humongous resources at his command; he has an elaborate party network supported by the Sangh; he has the backing of the government and its agencies; he has an Election Commission playing footsie; and still he lost! That must tell you something about Amit Shah and his reputation,' Kishor said.

'This is my third head-to-head with him and all three times I have defeated him -- in Bihar in 2015, in Delhi and in Bengal. And, of course, we defeated him in Andhra and Punjab, where the BJP was fighting in alliance with local parties,' Kishor added.

'He is a good-for-nothing political manager. I have to say I haven't the greatest respect for Amit Shah as a politician.'

Table designed by Ashish Narsale/

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