Setting aside anti-incumbency and a high-pitched Opposition campaign on corruption, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday led her Trinamool Congress to a huge victory on the development plank, destroying the newly cobbled Left-Congress alliance.
In the 294-member house, the Trinamool Congress won 211 seats, while Left Front ad Congress alliance got 72 seats. In the alliance, Congress surprised many by winning more seats with 44. BJP also made its presence felt by winning three seats.
Flashing the famed victory sign after the resounding triumph, Banerjee thanked the people and dubbed the Congress-Left alliance as a "blunder", saying both forces had compromised with their ideologies.
Amid the raucous cheers and loud trumpeting by supporters who had gathered in thousands near her Spartan residence at South Kolkata's Harish Chatterjee Road, Banerjee kept open speculations of playing a major role in the 2019 general elections saying: "I love my country, though Bengal is my priority. Just wait and see."
The dismal scenario for the Left-Congress alliance was reflected in its unofficial chief ministerial candidate, CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra suffering a humiliating defeat by over 13,000 votes in Narayangarh. He had been winning from there since 1991.
Mishra, also the leader of the opposition in the outgoing assembly, said the alliance with the Congress "had its faults" and attributed a "tacit understanding" between the Trinamool and the BJP behind the ruling party's electoral triumph.
Most Trinamool ministers won, including Partha Chatterjee, Amit Mitra and Jyotipriyo Mallik. However, five of their ministerial colleagues including Upen Biswas - a former CBI officer who nailed Lalu Prasad in the fodder scam - bit the dust.
Staving off the strong opposition offensive on graft, five of the six Trinamool candidates seen allegedly accepting money in the video footage of the Narada sting operation also won.
The only exception was Madan Mitra, now in jail in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam. He lost out to his CPI-M rival Manas Mukherjee at Kamarhati.