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West Bengal assembly election 2021- Time for BJP to create effective election strategy

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Nearly a year left for the assembly election in West Bengal (WB) in 2021. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made deep inroads into the political scene of WB and the party’s performance in 2019 Lok Sabha election is inspirational. Leaving no stone unturned, diligent karyakartas are tirelessly working on several areas. In the upcoming election, BJP will win the election with a thumping majority if the party creates effective election strategies.

WB has experienced, unfortunately enough, forty-four years of deprivation of development by Left Front (1977-2011) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) (2011-2021). It is unimaginable that for nearly half a century the state has not seen the light of development. Bengalis feel afraid when they realize that WB has gone backwards by nearly 50 years! Since BJP’s entry into WB’s political scenario comes at a crucial juncture, the primary aim of BJP in the 2021 election is not to defeat TMC. Rather, BJP is determined to bring the tide of development in WB. For the fruition of this noble aim, the people of WB should help BJP win the 2021 election.

People of WB have a revolutionary temperament. If the political direction is slow and sluggish, then people of WB are going to reject such political directions. Certainly, BJP is aligning the political directions with the political aspirations and expectations of the Bengalis. What BJP needs is a dedicated campaigner who will cover entire WB from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. Aggression, tinged with a good command over Bengali language, is an essential qualification of the campaigner. Extremely importantly, reciting short quotations from Bengali literature, especially patriotic songs, boils the lifeblood of nationalism that flows in the veins of millions of Bengalis.

WB is the land of myriad luminaries like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Meghnad Saha and Shyamaprasad Mookherjee. Connecting the political directions with the dream of freedom fighters, spiritual leaders, social reformers, educationalists, literati, scientists and political leader will imbue the feeling of rich tradition. The campaigner can come from any professional background, a school-teacher, a sweeper, a film-star. Whatever be the background, the campaigner should tell about her / his broad vision for all-round development of the state. In other words, the campaigner should present a clear roadmap to development. The claim goes that BJP does not have a potential leader in the state, but I believe that a person with a broad vision for development can emerge as a potential leader.

Looking into the political situation and tendencies in WB, I have prepared a rough draft for campaigning. The campaign should include two phases: pre-Durga Puja and post-Durga Puja. Taking into consideration certain political probabilities that would happen before the Durga Puja, the pre-Durga Puja campaign has specific agenda. I feel this campaign should have already started. The pre-Durga Puja campaign is inextricably connected to the post-Durga Puja campaign. If BJP succeeds in the pre-Durga Puja campaign, then certainly TMC loses ground. Besides the two phases, the campaign should be of three types: micro, macro and social media. I have formulated innovative strategies for campaigning.

TMC government has indeed failed in key issues such as employment, agriculture loan and farm product price. However, TMC’s greatest failure is following the path of the Left-front: giving position to corrupted politicians, inciting mindless political violence, encouraging politicization of governance, crippling of opposition, lashing out against dissent, and rigging elections. Such kind of political culture proves that TMC is a party without any ideology. Since there is acute poverty of innovation, TMC does not have new ways of engaging people in the democratic process. Eventually, the party failed to bring changes which the electorate of WB expected.

TMC opposes CAA without any reason. Moreover, the party raises no voice against the persecution of minorities in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Surprisingly, the party remains silent about the persecution of minorities in the three countries but violently opposes CAA. People of WB are yet to overcome from the trauma of rioting, train burning and vandalizing public property.

Anti-incumbency factor is going a play a major role in 2021 election. The rallying cry for anti-incumbency can be বাংলাকে নির্মূল, কোরে দিলো তৃণমূল (Banglake nirmul, kore dilo Trinamool [WB’s ruination, TMC’s action]) and বাংলার সুবর্ণ অগ্রগতি, বিজেপির দৃঢ় প্রতিশ্রুতি (Banglar subarna agrogati, BJPr driro pratisruti [WB’s golden development, BJP’s firm commitment]). WB has witnessed an appalling exodus of industrialists and people have realised that TMC cannot undertake development initiatives in the state. Indeed, WB is struggling due to lack of industrial growth and development. Besides violence and lawlessness, appeasement politics, which has divided the state along communal lines, make Bengalis feel disenchanted. The outcome of such a coercive political situation is that people of WB are exhausted with TMC.

During campaign BJP’s sole aim is not to highlight the failures of TMC government but to present a roadmap to development. Pro-development and anti-corruption are the two hallmarks of BJP and this image is going to have a potential impact on the people. BJP after coming to power will boost industrial growth, transform the educational system, and modernize the health sector.

Before 2021 election several TMC MLAs would abandon the party and participate in the rat race for joining BJP. The reason behind the present deplorable condition of TMC is the turncoat MLAs who were with the Left Front, and as the political situation changed they shifted to TMC. The treasure these turncoasts brought with them is unscrupulousness and corruption. BJP has to handle such turncoats with iron-hands, otherwise, there would be no difference between the political condition under TMC and that of BJP. If BJP gives ticket to such turncoats, then it would be a great strategic blunder and dilution of ideology. I have a potential strategy which might prove to be a game-changer.

Another major problem with TMC is its student organization. Trinamool Chhatra Parishad (TMCP), the student organisation of TMC, is extremely weak and the student leaders have earned a bad reputation among the student community through violence and vandalism. On the other hand, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student organisation affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, holds a good reputation and the organization engages in constructive activities. ABVP has a potential role to play before the election.

BJP winning the 2021 election should be a landmark achievement in the political history of India. The intellectual resources that BJP will generate will have a powerful impact on the entire country. It would be a historic moment to see the erstwhile Left bastion turning Right. WB has a colourful political history, red turning green, and green on the verge of turning saffron. Undoubtedly, BJP is going to win with a thumping majority. The need of the hour is disciplined campaigning and timely implementation of effective election strategies.

The author can be contacted at sayantanrajchakraborty@gmail.com.

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