Kolkata, May 02: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday expressed confidence that Mamata Banerjee will form the next government in West Bengal, as her party TMC surged ahead of the BJP in the counting of votes for the state Assembly polls.

Talking to reporters here, Raut also said everyone was now more worried about the increase in COVID-19 numbers than the political numbers.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) was ahead in 202 of the 292 seats that went to polls in West Bengal, way over the halfway mark of 147, leaving the BJP trailing far behind in 77 seats.

The Shiv Sena, which shares power in Maharashtra with the NCP and Congress, did not contest the West Bengal polls but extended its support to Banerjee.

As per the latest poll counting trends, the TMC was poised to return to power in West Bengal, the BJP was comfortably ahead in Assam as was the LDF in Kerala.

The trends also indicated that Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK could cede power to arch-rival DMK. In the Union Territory of Puducherry, the AINRC-led NDA was headed towards power.

Sanjay Raut said except for Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, there will be no change in the political scenario in the other states.

“We have to compliment Mamata didi that she accepted the BJP’s challenge and contested only from one seat. It is not easy to defeat Mamata, even though the BJP worked hard and put in a lot of investment to defeat her,” the Rajya Sabha member said.

“We have no doubt that her party will form the next government in West Bengal,” he said.

Though the TMC seemed to have successfully ridden the BJP challenge, the trends showed Chief Minister Banerjee trailing behind her one-time loyalist and now BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram.

 


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To a query on this, Raut said the Shiv Sena was confident that Banerjee would win.

He said everyone was now more worried about the rising COVID-19 numbers than the political numbers. “We are paying the price for the election campaigning. It is time to introspect and to do that also we need oxygen,” he said.