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How Modi’s BJP became the dominant force in left-liberal Bengal

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Kiran
Author is a Researcher in Geo politics, current affairs, History and Law at Center for South Asian and Empirical Research.

In the midst of deadly pandemic, the five state election results in India and in specific the Bengal result was stunning and interesting in every perspective. As we decode the results, the more intriguing aspects of the Bengal poll result emerged. The fiery battle between ruling Trinamool Congress Party and BJP took vicious turns and violent incidents but TMC’s decisive victory in Bengal was indeed astonishing to many political pundits considering the majority it got.

However, not everything is gloomy for BJP considering its stellar performance in the Triangular contested fight with Communists and its ally Congress party apart from ruling Trinamool Congress Party. From 3 seats in 2016 Assembly polls, to 78 Seats in 2021, BJP made a big presence in Bengal decimating Communists and Congress party who once ruled the state for 60 years since India’s Independence in 1947.

As we decode the Bengal result, BJP’s dominance is clear and visible to every household in Bengal. The party that had a nominal presence and doesn’t have any political infrastructure until 2016 have made a debut in 2012 securing one seat and then rose to 3 seats in 2016. However, the ruling Trinamool Congress never considered BJP as an opponent nor a force that could impact its political clout. However in 2019, Parliament elections, BJP have shown its stunning performance securing 18 Parliament seats with a vote share of over 40% in Bengal. BJP’s gradual growth from 2014 and in specific Prime Minister Modi charisma and capabilities leveraged the vote share in 2019. From an 8% vote share in 2016 to 40% vote share in 2019 have caused shivers in Trinamool Congress. The spike of BJP’s vote share in 2019, alerted the ruling party’s core organization to take some immediate steps to overcome the impending 2021 assembly elections.

However, despite securing the decisive mandate by Trinamool Congress in 2021, it could not stop the juggernaut of BJP’s dominance. In fact, BJP took the vote share of Communists and Congress Party and decimated both parties leaving them to score a big Fat Zero. If the decisive victory for Trinamool Congress brings the joy and fervor then BJP too can have the same fervor considering its dominance in Bengal securing the Principle Opposition Party Status. From no where to a dominant Opposition Party, BJP will surely make its presence in Bengal Legislature.

One can imagine how BJP with 3 seats in legislature highlighting the Muslim appeasement to State Government’s failure in every aspects brought immense presence in every house hold in Bengal is what BJP’s strategy and so, the result is quite evident. If we look at the vote share secured by BJP in 2021, there is hardly BJP have lost since 2019. It indeed have maintained the vote share which it got from Trinamool Congress and Communists. With almost 38% vote share BJP’s swing rate was over 28% compared to 2016 while the swing rate for Trinamool is 3% from 43 to 47% .

One interesting aspect of this Bengal election is that despite Trinamool Congress won a whopping 213 seats, the Party chief and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lost to her former subordinate Suvindu Sarkar at Nandigram. The impact of Bengal elections will have national ramification and unification of Liberal forces across India. Her political ambition on national platform can be seen in coming months and its quite evident that her rapport with Prime Minister Modi is not good and so one can expect a turbulent future. However, there is a lot that can be done from BJP to blunt her ambition for 2024. The important thing is, BJP is now a formidable force in Bengal but the prime focus at this time for BJP and Prime Minister Modi for next 24 months will be on COVID-19 to inoculate millions of Indians and regain the trust from people is the top priority to continue Ashwamedha Yagna next year for Uttar Pradesh and Goa elections.

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Kiran
Author is a Researcher in Geo politics, current affairs, History and Law at Center for South Asian and Empirical Research.

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