2021 has got some strong chances for BJP in West Bengal, but defeating Mamata Banerjee is not so easy even at the present too. She is loved by her people and she knows them better than anyone. Moreover, BJP also kept no stone unturned, they are working on every possibility. BJP already changed the perception and approach of the people in earlier held parliament elections and had won 18 seats out of 42 with a record, first time in the history of West Bengal.
CPM though they ruled the state for thirty-four long years, after which they had a significant decline in acceptance. CPM is majorly liked by intellectuals and government employees. Congress, except for some pockets in Murshidabad, they don’t have much to gain here. But, due to ongoing farmer’s protests, they might get a boost in votes but that won’t be enough to leave a mark. Moreover, CPM and Congress are forming a coalition but that isn’t enough to win too.
With Asaduddin Owaisi throwing his hat into the ring Mamata cannot be the sole owner of the minority vote which would get cut by AIMIM. The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) entering Bengal means dividing Muslim votes in between TMC, AIMIM and Congress. And Hindu votes will go straight to BJP. As of now, the real competition is between BJP and TMC, both of them have many heavyweight leaders who can carry the parties alone.
Bengal has an estimated 30 per cent Muslim voters sprawling across 294 assembly seats. Both Mamata Banerjee’s TMC and BJP know the importance of the crucial minority vote bank. Banerjee, who often claimed herself to be champion of minority causes, is fighting from the Nandigram Assembly Constituency which has a sizeable presence of Muslim voters.
However, this year TMC has fielded 42 Muslim candidates which account for 14 per cent of the total candidates. In 2016, at assembly polls, TMC fielded 53 Muslim candidates. BJP is hoping that presence of Asaduddin Owaisi and more importantly, ISF leader and influential cleric Abbas Siddiqui would divide the minority vote bank causing damage to Banerjee’s vote share and seats.
In North Bengal, Muslim infested districts like Murshidabad, and South Dinajpur will witness a contest between Congress and TMC and BJP believes that like the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, now also this will benefit them big time.
Whichever party wins, they will not get a huge majority over the second one. This is going to be a tough election to win for both BJP and TMC. The verdict of Bengal has always been decisive, so there can be leeway that BJP’s gain would be visible in West Bengal 2021.
BJP has established interactions with prominent social groups (caste) like Rajbanshi. They have their upper hand in northern Bengal nearing Assam. Gurkhas are already against Mamata because of her idiocy. Their area is already a BJP stronghold.
Above all, Amit Shah clinched what can be termed as the moment of reckoning by inducting Suvendhu Adhikari personally in his presence into the party. With his entry, BJP got a credible local Bengali firebrand face but also got the momentum in its favour. The way Adhikari’s discord was handled by TMC leaders was boorish, to say the least.
BJP itself was finding it difficult to touch the magical figure of their 148 at Bengal assembly and Adhikari by himself could never be dreamt of dislodging Trinamool but the coming together of Adhikari to BJP was the tilting point for TMC.
Adhikari not only wields influence in the 16 seats of his home district Midnapore but his sway extends over 7 to 8 districts. He can make a difference in over 40+ seats if not more.
BJP was doing its rigorous homework right after the 2019 Lok Sabha election results were declared. It is one part that was planted years before. This groundwork has started giving bonuses. There was anger on the streets against Mamata but the biggest question was how could the BJP consolidate the anger not just into votes but also into seats. That is where Mamata started to dig her own grave. Giving prominence to her nephew and putting all eggs on the basket of Prasanth Kishore had estranged some of the powerful leaders of Trinamool.
Suvendhu is fast turning out to be similar to Himanta Dada in Assam. His rhetoric and ability to articulate in Bengali by highlighting the colossal failures of the TMC government is turning out to be a gamechanger for BJP. We can see jitters in the TMC camp and as we move along, we could see several more desertions from TMC to BJP in Bengal.
We often term in politics that it all depends on who makes the last mistake and now a series of blunders are committed by TMC which can be seen from the tone, tenor and body language of the CM. Some opinion polls are giving a decisive majority to BJP and I would not be surprised if we see BJP touching expected seats in Bengal although many pollsters are giving BJP a range from 135 to 175 seats.
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