Impact of Assam & Bengal elections in national politics
Legislative elections are being held in five states- Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. Elections results in Tamil Nadu and Kerala might not drag people’s attention at least this time, as it is being predicted that only regional parties will remain in the game. Even BJP, which is giving its best to form the govt in every corner of the country, is mainly focusing on West Bengal and Assam. BJP has ruled Assam for five years and it is again giving its best to come to power, even media polls are suggesting its victory in Assam. The fact of the matter is that in Assam, the party has a few powerful faces like Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma, who have a strong influence in the state. Not only this, Himanta Biswa Sarma is also the convenor of North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), which is a political coalition formed by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Here, it is worth mentioning that Assam becomes more important for BJP as it would ensure the party’s victory in other states in the northeast in both assembly and Lok Sabha elections. Congress, the main opposition in the state, is facing a leadership crisis after the demise of its tallest leader Tarun Gogoi, and infighting in the party is also a big headache. The central leadership of Congress is also faced with big troubles. And the recent formation of G-23 clearly demonstrates this fact. Therefore, the state leadership has to fight these elections on its own. On the other hand, in BJP, along with strong leaders like Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma, the central leadership also has big influence over voters. Therefore, elections in Assam might not be a tough affair for BJP.
Now, coming to the West Bengal assembly elections, without any doubt, Mamata Banerjee is facing two-front challenges, the first is people in her party have left the Trinamool before and during elections. The second is strong anti-incumbency against her as she failed to rejuvenate the economy of the state despite getting two tenures and the third one is BJP.
Now the question is, will Mamata survive in this election as her Muslim vote bank is also not fully in her favour this time due to CPI(M) and Congress’s alliance with regional Muslim leaders? However, this is also true that in the end, if Mamata fails to cross the halfway mark, then Congress and CPI(M) would ultimately support Mamata to oust BJP.
Here, it would be interesting to see the impact of Bengal elections in the Lok Sabha elections, which would be held in 2024. If BJP forms the government in Bengal, without any doubt, it would be a dream coming true for the party, as the founder of BJP, formerly Jan Sangh, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee was from Bengal and BJP has been striving hard to come to power in the state for decades. But, there would also be an impact in future elections, leaders like Kejriwal would start claiming to be the real opposition choice for the country and his logic would be that he defeated BJP in Delhi all the time. It is, however, a different matter that he got the victory because of freebies politics. And It was the downfall of Congress in Delhi that led to Kejriwal’s success. It is important to add here that the vote percentage of BJP in the recently held Delhi assembly elections increased, whereas the vote percentage of AAP decreased. It was an unprecedented increase in BJP’s vote. So, it is still a long walk for AAP to make an impact in national elections. Yet, in politics perception plays a bigger role than reality.
Having said this, if Mamata wins in Bengal, the opposition would again remain divided in Lok Sabha elections in future, as she has her own political ambition, and again, the opposition would face a leadership crisis against BJP because of many ambitious regional leaders.
Therefore, if BJP wins in Bengal, it will gain one important state. If it loses, it would also be strategically beneficial for the party in national elections in future.
By Ravi Mishra