Bengal has saved the country, Mamata Banerjee said today as her Trinamool Congress raced to a landslide victory in the state, fighting off a formidable challenge from the BJP.
“Bengal has saved India. This is a victory of democracy. They said they would win 200-plus seats but they have been decimated. Bengal has decimated BJP’s ego,” Mamata Banerjee, 66, said.
“The BJP kept going on and on about double-engine sarkar, while I assured you all that I will score a double century. This is Bangla’s win… this is Bengal’s win… this is your win. This win has saved Bengal, it has saved the culture and tradition of Bengal.”
Her own possible defeat in Nandigram to Trinamool defector Suvendu Adhikari, who became the BJP’s top face in Bengal, was somewhat sobering, but Mamata Banerjee all but shrugged it off. “Don’t worry about Nandigram, I struggled for Nandigram because I fought a movement. It’s ok. Let the Nandigram people give whatever verdict they want, I accept that. I don’t mind. We won more than 221 seats in the state and the BJP has lost the election,” she said.
The Trinamool looked set to win over 210 of Bengal’s 294 seats and the BJP was at 78 as counting neared a close.
Mamata Banerjee emerged for the first time without her wheelchair – which became a constant in her campaign after she suffered a leg injury in Nandigram on March 10 – and said to celebrating party workers: “I appeal to you all to go home and take a shower, sanitise well and maintain social distance from others. Please do not crowd around and indulge in celebrations.”
With her state reporting a steady rise in Covid cases and deaths, Ms Banerjee said she would prioritise the fight against the pandemic.
“My first priority will be to work in the interest of the people – all who are affected by COVID-19. The priority of the government in Bengal will be to battle Covid,” she said.
“I have not yet taken a decision on lockdown and that will be taken after I assess the situation after the oath taking ceremony of the new government.”
On Saturday, Bengal reported the highest one-day COVID-19 deaths – 103 – and over 17,500 cases.
Since April 30, Bengal has been placed under a partial lockdown.