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BJP’s Bengal defeat: How Mamata did a Modi on Modi

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Ajay Sudame
Ajay Sudamehttps://indicvichaar.com/
Ajay Sudame aka 'Pakodewallah' is for Free Markets and is a Nationalist. He is the founder and editor of the Marathi OpEd website - IndicVichaar.com. Also runs a YouTube channel by the same name. Tweets @IndicVichaar
Modi’s Development + Hindutva Vs Mamata’s Development + Secularism

By the time you read this, it’s almost 2 weeks, since the election results in 5 states. Also, I am fully aware that you have watched many programs on Bengal results and must have read many articles on the same subject. Hence, I was not sure as to why should I do this video.

But then, till now I have not come across one analysis which discuss the two reasons, which I think are the main reasons behind BJP’s defeat in Bengal. Also on May 14, Prime Minister Modi transferred Rs 19,000 crore to the 95 million bank accounts belonging to farmers, and I thought I must do this. Now if you are baffled about Bengal elections and the Rs 19,000 crore handout, please hold it. It is coming.

So, with that settled, let us come down to why BJP lost Bengal. The, two reasons are :

1) Tactical voting by minority community. 2) Mamata turning the tables on Modi by using his own development model.

1) Tactical voting by minority community.

To explain this, we need to look at the percentage of votes and seats won by the 4 major parties in the 2016 and 2021 Assembly elections.

Vote ShareNo of seats wonVote ShareNo of seats wonVote ShareSeats

In 2016, these 4 parties together got 85% of the votes and 285 out of 294 seats. In 2021, the percentage of votes increased to 94% and 290 seats. But this time almost all the CPM and Congress vote went to BJP or TMC. But that is not all. In 2016, AIFB, RSP, CPI, and independent candidates together had 15% of the vote. It decreased to only 6% in 2021. And 15% of CPM, 7% of Congress and 9% of these smaller parties went to BJP or TMC.

As a result, the BJP’s vote share jumped from 10 to 38, which is an incredible performance in itself. But for me, that’s not what is the highlight of Bengal elections. The 3% incremental votes, which TMC added to its 45% is something that startles me. In 2016, TMC got 44. 91% votes. Which was a stupendous performance anyway. By 2021, Mamata had ruled for 10 years. A sense of fatigue or anti-incumbency had crept in. There were also complaints against Amphan Relief Funds and anger against cut money. Yet, not only Mamata came back for the third time, but TMC’s vote share increased by 3% and seats by 2.

How did this happen? The miracle was made possible only by the tactical voting by the minorities. To understand the magnitude of Muslim consolidation behind Mamata, some more data may be useful. In 2016 TMC had secured 51% of Muslim votes. In 2019 General Elections it had risen to 70%.

And is 2021, 75% of Muslim voters chose TMC. This is mother of all consolidations.

So what? Liberal press argues. Since Modi, even Hindus have been aping Muslim voting behavior. Right? But, in no elections, you will see this kind of consolidation behind BJP. And voting in Bengal too supports this argument. Only 50% of Hindus voted BJP in the 2021 Assembly elections and 39%, TMC.

And what for? Only to stop pro-Hindu BJP! This is called social consciousness! Otherwise, there are people in Delhi who overthrew a government on the price of onions and are voting anti-nationals and closet Jihadis for free water and cheap electricity.

2) Mamata doing a Modi on Modi

My second point is, that after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Mamata started implementing the same model of development that was championed by Narendra Modi. Even before, there were 250 schemes in Bengal, especially for women. But from August 2019, she started re-emphasizing schemes like Kanyashree, Rupashree and Sabuj Saathi. And on December 1, 2020, she announced a program called ‘Duare Sarkar’, meaning ‘Government at your Doorsteps’.

Kanyashree: Cash transfer for school going girls

Khadya Saathi: FSB by Bengal Govt.

Shiksha Shri: One-time financial assistance to SC-ST students of V-VIII.

Rupashri: 25000 help for marriage to girls from poor families.

Akhyashree: Scholarships for Minority Students

TMC government launched a special effort to reach out to the people, focusing on the 11 most important schemes. Apart from the 3 schemes mentioned above, there were schemes like Khadyasathi, Shikshashree, Jai Johar, Taposili Bandhu, Akhyashree. All these schemes are similar to Modi’s PM – Kisan or Ujwala. We will look at some of these schemes in one line.

From these 5 schemes, you can understand that they are targeted either at Women, SC-ST or Minorites. In tone, tenor and target, they are similar to the schemes by Prime Minister Modi. Like schemes by central Government, these also cater to the specific financial needs of a small group (Cohort).

Financial Gerrymandering:

Dividing voters into geographical areas to suit you is called Gerrymandering in American English. After victory in 2014, Modi engineered a kind of socio-economic Gerrymandering for the first time by opening Jan Dhan accounts and identifying the most needy groups.

Mamata imitated him in 2020, or in fact he went one step further. She ensured that the benefits are diverted to women and minorities. And that worked in 2021.

Although the BJP has gained a lot from the May 2 results, the results in Bengal are worrisome. Today, although the BJP is the only national party and Modi’s popularity is undiminished, the BJP has not had much success in the 2018 Assembly elections. In 23 elections held in these 4 years, BJP has won only 9 on its own.

In two states (Nagaland and Bihar), the Chief Minister is from the Alliance partner. In Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, about a year and a half after the elections, the incumbent Congress government was overthrown and the BJP reinstalled its Chief Minister. Even if these two states are combined, there are BJP governments in 11 out of 23 states and non-BJP governments in the remaining 12 states.

Amongst these 12, only one state of Rajasthan has a Congress CM. Elsewhere, there are non-Congress, non-BJP chief ministers. And the BJP has not been able to defeat these non-Congress leaders. So be it Kejriwal in 2015 and 2020, Nitish Kumar in 2017, or Naveen Patnaik , or Mamata in 2021. Hemant Soren of Jharkhand, or Chandrashakhar Rao of Telangana can also be added. After 2014, BJP, non-Congress (except Akhilesh Yadav) could not defeat the leader in the state.

What is the common denominator in all these CMs? They all like Mamata are keen disciples of development + secularism. For example, Kejriwal, like Mamata, pays salaries to Muezzin. Don’t be confused, the Maulavi of course is paid. Hemant Soren says tribals were never Hindus. Chandrasekhar Rao has also spent Rs 6,000 crore on minorities in the last six years.

 The funny thing is, that through this development + secularism model, Congress has ruled for decades. The comparison my anger BJP supporters. But, if all the glory is captured by NREGA, PM-Kisan, or Ujwala and economic reforms, are forgotten, then where is the difference. The only difference is that BJP works on development + Hindutva and Congress on development + secularism. Mamata, Kejriwal, Chandrashekhar Rao do the same. And they have defeated the BJP using the Congress formula.

Earlier I had, given an account of 23 assembly elections since 2018. The point to ponder is,why did the BJP lose the states it won in 2014 (Rajasthan, Jharkhand), or why can’t the BJP defeat leaders like Naveen Patnaik or Chandrasekhar Rao and Mamata? This is because, if the people do not see any difference in economic and administrative delivery in 5 years, then they go back either to their old party or the local leader.

At times it worries me to the death that has BJP forgotten its middle class, taxpayer voters? The focus sometimes seems to be only on schemes like PM-Kisan or Ujwala.  Even this middle class expects economic progress from this government. How many elections BJP thinks Hindutva can win them? The second Corona wave is of course not helping. Now what if infections continue to rise and unemployment skyrockets, like it did last year? Which scheme will please the middle class? Free two-wheelers for free education? Or free houses?

Now, if anybody is capable of getting rid of this Welfarism, disguised as Development, it’s none other than PM Narendra Modi. But just out of statism, if he refuses to do so, then be rest assured, Development+ Secularism gang will be ready to challenge BJP in 2024.

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Ajay Sudame
Ajay Sudamehttps://indicvichaar.com/
Ajay Sudame aka 'Pakodewallah' is for Free Markets and is a Nationalist. He is the founder and editor of the Marathi OpEd website - IndicVichaar.com. Also runs a YouTube channel by the same name. Tweets @IndicVichaar
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