The result of the West Bengal Assembly elections and the overall performance of regional parties were the focus of most newspapers on Monday morning, a day after Mamata Banerjee led the Trinamool Congress to a spectacular victory by defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Results for Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry were also announced on Sunday. Anti-incumbency took a beating in West Bengal, Assam and Kerala.
In Tamil Nadu, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led alliance was leading in over 150 seats and party chief MK Stalin is all set to become the chief minister for the first time. In Puducherry, the All India NR Congress-led National Democratic Alliance beat the Congress and the DMK. In Kerala, the Left Democratic Front retained power. For the first time since 1983, the incumbent government has come back to power in Kerala. In Assam, the BJP will form government again.
Most dailies hailed the role of regional parties in stopping the BJP from getting closer to its “one-nation, one-party ambition”. Newspapers used puns, referring to the campaign slogans and other elements on their front pages.
Most dailies highlighted the TMC’s win in Bengal, Banerjee’s loss in Nandigram, MK Stalin’s stellar performance in Tamil Nadu and the Left’s historic victory in Kerala.
The Hindustan Times ran with the headline “Bengal Vocal for Local”. It called Banerjee’s victory a “continued assertion of regional parties in Indian politics, and a major setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party”. The daily credited TMC’s victory to the state government’s welfare schemes, “Bengali sub-nationalism”, Banerjee’s popularity and minority consolidation.
The daily added that Stalin’s performance in the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections “will likely cement his standing as an icon of Dravidian politics”.
The Telegraph ran with the headline “Good Morning Bengall”, with the last three letters coloured in saffron, white and green, indicating the tricolour. The newspaper called the election results “an inclusive vote against communalism”.
It said Banerjee vanquished Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, the Election Commission and communalism all at once. However, it called Banerjee’s defeat in Nandigram the “sole stumble” to TMC’s dream run.
The Times of India’s headline played around TMC’s election campaign slogan “Khela Hobe [the game is on]”. With the headline “Khela Over: Mamata is Didi Beyond Bengal”, the newspaper highlighted how the Bengal election results have catapulted Banerjee to the national stage. The Times of India said the “regional satraps” in India are the real opposition to the BJP.
The Hindu ran with the headline, “Left, TMC, BJP buck anti-incumbency; DMK bags TN”, giving an overall picture of what transpired in the Assembly elections to the four states. While the BJP has been able to retain Assam, it is the result of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala that stole the show. The newspaper highlighted how regional parties dominate the political space in India now.
The Indian Express highlighted Banerjee’s performance but also pointed out the Congress’ diminishing foothold. The newspaper credited Banerjee for TMC’s “historic win”.
Hindi daily Navbharat Times’ editions in Delhi and north India equally split their front pages between the state election results and Covid-19 coverage. The election report focused on the Trinamool Congress’ West Bengal victory, with a headline saying “Didi hi Didi”, or “Didi everywhere: Mamata managed a victory hattrick”.
Another Hindi newspaper, Amar Ujala, also focused on the West Bengal election on the front page of all its editions, announcing, “Mamata won Bengal, lost Nandigram: In an election about prestige, Trinamool won a hattrick; BJP moved from 3 to 77 seats even after putting in all its strength.”
Bengali newspaper Anandabazar Patrika had a one-word headline: “Didi….i”. It then gave a scorecard of Banerjee’s party (213) and Modi (77). In a single column, next to the lede article, the newspaper called Banerjee’s defeat in Nandigram a “thorn” in TMC’s victory crown.
Tamil newspapers focussed on the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s victory.
Using a tagline that read “Stalin has arrived”, Dinakaran focussed on the DMK’s “massive win” on its front page. It highlighted that the DMK alliance won 159 seats while the AIADMK alliance managed to bag merely 75 seats in the state Assembly.
The daily also praised Stalin’s “hattrick victory” in Kolathur constituency, while noting that the exit polls’ predictions came true.
Small pointers on the front page referred to NR Rangasamy’s fourth victory in Puducherry and Mamata Banerjee’s third win in West Bengal.
Tamil daily Dinamani’s main headline said “Stalin becomes chief Minister”, while its strap noted that the DMK is returning to power after 10 years. The top of the front page showed all of Sunday’s results, while the bottom of the front page focussed on the NDA alliance’s win in Puducherry, Vijayan’s “record-breaking” return to power in Kerala, the Trinamool Congress’ third consecutive victory in West Bengal and the BJP’s win in Assam.
The newspaper also focussed on the big wins and losses in the state, including those of Edappadi Palaniswami, Kamal Haasan, Seeman, TTV Dhinakaran and D Jayakumar.
Gujarati newspaper Divya Bhaskar’s front page focused on the Bengal election result, visually highlighting the BJP’s loss and Trinamool’s victory with a headline saying “MoDi...MoDi” and a cartoon saying “Khel khatam”, or “game over”. The lead report described Mamata Banerjee’s personal loss in the Nandigram constituency as “the biggest upset”.
In Maharashtra, Shiv Sena-run newspaper Saamana used football metaphors and a reference to Mamata Banerjee’s leg injury on its front page, with a headline saying, “Mamata won Bengal on one foot!” The sub-headline said, “She wiped out Modi, Shah and BJP’s entire team.”