The ruling Trinamool Congress has dismissed talk that BJP is emerging as a potential opposition force which could effectively counter it in the 2016 Assembly elections in West Bengal, claiming that the saffron party's success was "an illusion".
"In Bengal, BJP will not be able to secure major opposition space. This (success of BJP in Lok Sabha elections in the state) is for the time-being and (only) an illusion.
This will be proved in the coming Kolkata Municipal Corporation polls and in the elections to several municipalities," Trinamool Congress General Secretary Mukul Roy told PTI here.
"You are talking of the rise in the BJP's percentage of votes, but not taking into account that (in the Lok Sabha elections) the party lost deposits in 136 of the 294 Assembly segments in the state. The party took a lead in only 23 Assembly segments," he claimed.
TMC, on the other hand, took a lead in 216 Assembly segments, he said.
Told that BJP's vote share rose to 17.6 per cent in the state in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections -- its highest ever in the state -- Roy said, "In the 1991 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had got 13.1 per cent of the votes." BJP's vote share in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls in the state was 6.15 per cent.
TMC, led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, won 34 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state with 39.4 per cent of the votes. The Left Front secured 29 per cent of the votes while the Congress managed to corner 9.6 per cent.
While TMC emerged as the fourth largest party in the 16th Lok Sabha, main rival CPI(M) won only two seats in WB, the lowest since its formation in 1964. Congress won four seats in the state with BJP bagging two.
Roy claimed that TMC would now improve its performance further in the 2016 Assembly polls.
Roy, meanwhile, rubbished allegations by BJP and the Left parties that their supporters were being attacked by TMC in the aftermath of the polls.
"There are 77,000 polling booths in Bengal. Show us in how many have such incidents taken place? It was only in one per cent (of the booths)," he claimed.
Asked whether he had directed the presidents of TMC district committees to ensure that CPI(M) supporters who have been allegedly driven out of their homes could return safely -- as a follow-up to the recent meeting between a Left delegation and Banerjee -- Roy said, "I have seen newspaper reports about it, but this is not true.
"Moreover, where are the homeless people? There is no homeless people as is being claimed."
BJP spokesperson and its convener in-charge for Bengal, Siddharth Nath Singh, has said that the people responded to Narendra Modi's call for a Congress-free India and the party is now issuing a call for a TMC-free Bengal in 2016.