West Bengal on Friday witnessed a war-of-words between the Prime Minister and chief minister, with Narendra Modi accusing her of trying to protect those involved in chit fund scams, while Mamata Banerjee calling him the "master of corruption" and a "shame" for the country. However, when in it comes to projected seat sharing, it seems the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is still lagging behind the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal in Lok Sabha elections. On Friday, News Nation came out with an opinion poll on West Bengal that predicted that Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress may get 31 seats, whereas the BJP and the Congress are likely to bag a total of seven and two seats respectively in the upcoming General Elections.
The Left Front is likely to secure only two seats in Lok Sabha Elections 2019. As far as the vote share is concerned, the poll shows the Trinamool Congress is likely to get 36 per cent votes, followed by the BJP (23 per cent), the Left Front (26 per cent), and the Congress (7 per cent).
In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, the Trinamool Congress swept the state by bagging 34 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats. While the Congress managed to get four parliamentary seats, the BJP gave its best ever performance by reaching to two seats, from 1 in 2009. BJP ministers Babul Supriyo and SS Ahluwalia bagged the Asansol and Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituencies with over 4 lakh votes in the state. The most unexpected swing of the voters was being recorded against the Left Front, which managed to get only two seats in 2014.
General Elections in West Bengal is crucial as this is the third biggest state in terms of Lok Sabha seats after Uttar Pradesh (80) and Maharashtra (48).
In a bid to gauge the voting intention in the state, News Nation travelled across all the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state and asked people several questions to find out who will have the better chance to steal the show in 2019.
When it comes to the most favourable prime ministerial candidate in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, West Bengal chose Narendra Modi with 31 per cent votes. However, 17 per cent people in the state said they want Rahul Gandhi to run the country. Being asked about the most important issues in the state 19 per cent people voted for basic infrastructure, followed by unemployment (17 per cent), inflation (12 per cent), Naxalism (11 per cent), corruption (9 per cent), illegal migrants (7 per cent), stable government (5 per cent), communalism (4 per cent) among others.
The people of West Bengal were also asked about the Rafale fighter jets deal controversy. According to the poll, 43 per cent people in the state think the allegations of corruption in Rafale deal levelled by Congress president Rahul Gandhi are serious. while 40 per cent said the allegations are baseless.
On Friday, the Modi government was rocked by a 2015 the defence ministry note cited in a media report expressing strong objections to the "parallel" negotiations by the PMO in the controversial Rafale jet deal and came under fresh attack from the Congress chief. Stepping up his offensive on Modi, Gandhi demanded answers to questions raised in the media report, saying it is now “crystal clear” that the "watchman" is the "thief", an apparent reference to Modi's alleged cronyism in the Rafale deal. Gandhi's offensive drew a counter-attack from Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who dismissed the report in 'The Hindu' newspaper on the internal note in the Ministry of Defence(MoD) dated November 24, 2015 as "flogging a dead horse" and alleged that the opposition was playing into the hands of multinational companies and vested interests.
The News Nation opinion also found that 41 per cent people in the state are not satisfied with the performance of the Mamata Banerjee government. However, 40 per cent people are still happy with the incumbent TMC government. In what could be termed as a disappointment for Modi, 51 per cent people in West Bengal say they are not satisfied with the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.
On being asked which party will better address their issues, 36 per cent chose the Trinamool Congress, while 21 per cent say the BJP is better suited to tackle their issues.