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2 minutes agoAuthor: Ravindra Bhajani
The assembly election dates in West Bengal may be announced in the next few days. Earlier, there was a stampede among the leaders of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC). Mukul Roy, who played a key role in forming TMC with Mamta, split in 2017 and joined BJP. But now the process has started. In the last few months, many big grassroots leaders including Shubhendu Adhikari, Rajib Banerjee and Vaishali Dalmia have left Mamta and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
A sudden stampede in TMC leaders is the reason for the wind blowing in favor of the BJP and the increased interference of Mamta’s nephew Abhishek. At the same time, poll management guru Prashant Kishore’s entry into Bengal is also being cited as a reason. We spoke to political pundits who have been closely monitoring the politics of West Bengal for the past few decades and tried to understand it. Five reasons emerged, which are as follows-
1. Increasing stature of Mamta’s nephew Abhishek
In 2017, Mukul Roy left the Trinamool and joined the BJP. He remained number two in the party for many years, but when Mamta’s nephew Abhishek interfered, Mukul’s stature began to diminish in the party. In the Saradha scam of crores of rupees, when she was surrounded by allegations, the sword of arrest started hanging. Everything has been quiet since arriving in BJP.
Senior journalist Snigandhendu Bhattacharya, who has done political reporting in some English newspapers in Bengal, says that Abhishek’s rise in the party did not suit these old leaders. He felt how a junior could dictate him in party affairs. Snigandhendu has told the BJP’s Rise in the book ‘Mission Bengal: A Saffron Experiment’ after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. She also says that Mamata is avoiding making the mistakes she made in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Now he is just counting his government’s achievements. Not to be caught in the trap laid by the BJP.
2. Prashant Kishore’s entry into Bengal
Prashant Kishore, who was Narendra Modi’s strategist in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, is currently preparing a strategy for the Trinamool Congress. Many people do not like their way of functioning. While Dinesh Trivedi announced his resignation from the party and the Rajya Sabha during the discussion on the budget, his target was on Prashant Kishore on the pretext of ‘corporate culture’. Senior journalist Deep Haldar says that Prashant Kishore’s team handed over the form to TMC leaders as soon as they arrived. Asked whom they meet in their areas? What do you do? How many people are with them? The old leaders did not like it at all. Because of this he was feeling suffocated in the party.
3. BJP’s growing influence in Bengal
The BJP has emerged as a major force in Bengal and is seen as an alternative to TMC. The BJP has emerged as the TMC’s main rival in Bengal since the 2017 local body and 2018 panchayat elections. The results in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections were completely in favor of the BJP. TMC won 22 seats, BJP 18 and Congress 2 seats. The Left, which had been in power for more than three decades, could not win a single seat. TMC secured 43% of the votes, while BJP got 40%, while the Congress-Left together could not get more than 13%.
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Mamta didi, what are you asking for our account, the people of Bengal are asking for your account. Take the report card of the promises you made to them in front of the public in the elections. pic.twitter.com/VCmel3l1lq
– Amit Shah (@AmitShah) February 18, 2021
Before the elections, Deep Halder has written a book in the form of a diary – ‘Bengal 2021’. In this, he has studied ground situation. He says that no one can deny that the BJP has emerged as a major force in the state. Robin Roy, who has been writing on the politics of Bengal for a long time, says that in 2011, when Mamta demolished the stronghold of the Left, she joined the Bengali film industry. Today these artists are seen standing with the BJP.
4. Weakening grip on Mamta’s party
Mamta has been completely away from TMC’s day-to-day functioning for some time. His nephew Abhishek may be the national youth president of TMC, but he is running the entire party. Mamta’s focus is entirely on the government. Snigandhendu says that Mamta has not yet appeared in Election Mode. They are also not giving much importance to BJP’s challenge. Another senior journalist, on the condition of anonymity, said that Mamta’s grip on the ground level has been loosened. What Abhishek and Prashant Kishore decide together is happening. The effect of this is that what happened to Sonia-Rahul in the Congress in Delhi is happening to Mamata-Abhishek in Bengal. Big party leaders are angry and this is a big reason for him to leave the party.
5. Polarization happening on religious grounds
Be it the case of Saraswati Puja or to say Jai Shri Ram, polarization has taken place in Bengal on religious grounds. The results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are a clear proof of this. A senior journalist claims that TMC has directly suffered a Muslim appeasement policy. At the same time, both Snigandhendu and Deep Haldar admit that polarization is clearly visible on the ground on religious grounds. Not only this, along with other organizations of the Sangh Parivar, the leaders of the BJP are also not taking any offense in fueling the issue. If Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM manages to cut Muslim voters in Seemanchal adjacent to Bihar, then there will be problems for Mamata.
Who will get the benefit of stampede in TMC?
A big question in the political debate is whether the BJP will be able to cash in on the stampede in TMC? No one has the answer. Snigandhendu says that the leaders who have left, will not have any major impact on TMC. The party was already ready for this. Of those who have gone, only a few have influence in their respective areas. However, Deep Haldar does not agree with them. He says that the current situation is in BJP’s favor. It will be difficult to say what the election results will be, but it can be said that this time the lotus may bloom in Bengal.