Will wait for May 19, says Trinamool

Party leaders meet after exit polls results; Left, Cong. leaders question credibility of the numbers.

May 17, 2016 01:44 am | Updated October 18, 2016 02:22 pm IST - Kolkata:

Derek O'Brien

Derek O'Brien

With most exit polls predicting a win for the Trinamool Congress, party workers and leaders were elated on Monday night. Almost the entire top leadership of the party locked itself for a high-level meeting following the announcement of the exit poll results.“We will wait for May 19 and the actual results,” said Derek O’Brien, Trinamool’s parliamentary party leader. He said the people of West Bengal “will bless Trinamool abundantly”.

“The Mamata Banerjee government’s real story of development, progress, peace and communal harmony will win the hearts and minds of the people,” he said.

“We believe in people and we believe that people would support us as they have witnessed the good work,” was the formal response of Trinamool’s secretary-general Partha Chatterjee to the exit polls. However, he said it was “a victory” of the party against a plethora of television channels engaged in building opinion against the party. “Now even anti-Trinamool channels have started broadcasting that we will win. Remember … truth can never be suppressed,” he said.

A senior Trinamool MP, however, said that he did not believe in exit polls and referred to a Bengali proverb which means “many a slip between the cup and the lip”.

Left questions credibility

Khisti Goswami, State secretary of the RSP, a Left Front partner, questioned the credibility of exit polls.

“We need to know how the exit polls are conducted, how, where and who are provided with what kind of sample questions. It is but natural that the Left Front supporters would never divulge their mind to unknown researchers and thus I believe there is nothing to feel dejected,” Mr. Goswami said. Citing the example of Bihar where many exit polls went haywire, Mr. Goswami said the electors should wait for another 72 hours rather than indulging in wild speculation.

Congress leader Omprakash Mishra, who first floated the idea of an alliance with the Left in public forums, refused to accept the results predicted by the exit polls. “I want to point out that even as all the exit polls are suggesting that Trinamool have an advantage in getting a majority, there is considerable difference among them with regard to the number of seats the party is expected to win. If such exit polls are conducted with scientific methods, then why such differences from poll to poll,” he asked.

“It should be pointed out that psephologists are of the opinion that in developing countries where ruling parties often resort to muscle power to win elections, most people do not express their opinion freely. The political momentum is in favour of the Left-Congress alliance and the alliance will form the government,” Mr. Mishra said.

Celebrations begin

In a few localities, Trinamool supporters were seen gleefully analysing the results. Many of them said that they always knew Didi (Mamata Banerjee) would win. In Mr. Goswami’s neighbourhood in south Kolkata’s Dhakuria area, a group even planned an early celebration which was called off following the intervention of local leaders. But the excitement was palpable. “Mamata Banerjee worked for 20 hours, knows every Block Development Officer by name, bypassed the ministers to implement the welfare projects … The victory is a result of her endeavour,” said Trinamool leader Pradeep Singh Thakur.

“The fight was largely between the ‘big capital’ and Mamata Banerjee. Mamata was not liked by the ‘big capital’ and thus the ‘big capital’ backed the Left-Congress alliance. But traditionally the party that is backed by rural poor, rather than Kolkata-based middle class, wins in Bengal,” he said. It is the rural poor — and not the Kolkata’s middle class — that kept the Left in power for three decades, he said.

“But in this election the Kolkata-based middle class supported the Left-Congress alliance and thus we may conclude that the rural poor backed Mamata,” said a senior Professor of Economics on condition of anonymity.

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