Friday, August 19th, 2022 17:24:44

Modi And Bjp Now A Factor In Bengal

Updated: June 7, 2014 4:38 pm

Narendra Modi—the man of the hour—who has the most influencing effect on the people of India, has led the BJP to an unprecedented victory in the Lok Sabha elections. The NDA together won 336 seats and on its own BJP won a historic high of 282 seats in Lok Sabha, which is 100 seats more than its previous highest tally of 182 under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1998 and 1999.

The effect of the Modi wave was so effective that the BJP trounced the ruling Congress in Assam, breached the TMC-Left stranglehold on West Bengal, the Dravidian parties’ domination in Tamil Nadu, and left footprints even in Kerala. It swept all seats in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Goa, and virtually won all of Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh as well as Bihar (with allies), and pushed the Congress to the margins in Maharashtra, Haryana, Assam and Jharkhand.

West Bengal, just three years ago witnessed such a parivartan in the state, when Mamata Banerjee achieved the support of the people in overthrowing the longest serving Left rule from the state. But the national wave of Narendra Modi has its significant effect on Bengal this time, which has been successful eating into the Left vote share. Trinamool Congress won 34 seats out of 42 Lok Sabha seats. Once the Left stronghold Bengal, the CPI(M) managed to win only two seats this time, whereas, Congress is left with only four seats and BJP managed to win two seats, one seat more than the last Lok Sabha election.

But it is significant here to note that the BJP which had won two seats from the state, sharing 17 per cent votes of total vote share in the state has remained second in three constituencies which include North Kolkata, South Kolkata and North Malda Constituencies and third in 29 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state. South Kolkata is the Lok Sabha constituency which Mamata Banerjee used to represent in the past for Lok Sabha. This fact proves that BJP no doubt is emerging as the next most powerful political party in Bengal.

Although Mamata Banerjee dedicated this victory to the people of Bengal when she issued the statement: “I heartily congratulate the people of Bengal who emerged as the ultimate winner in the Lok Sabha poll. All credit goes to the people of the state. I dedicate this victory to the people of the state. I extend my sincere thanks for their overwhelming support against all odds—money power, major section of media, distortion of facts, vilification campaign, divide-and-rule approach and many more adversities. I congratulate all other regional parties for their success as well, though they did not have to face so many odds like us. Today the man of the match is one section of media. I salute them for their unilateral campaign throughout the state. Our party is committed to political, economic and social stability of the country and we are committed to communal harmony. We are for the constructive growth and development of the country. I extend my congratulations to all winners. Let us hope for better tomorrow.”

In her reaction to the election results she no doubt has exerted pressure on Modi in all possible means but finally has to admit his mass support base. The Left, which is not able recover from its worst ever defeat, came out with the statement that it is still reviewing the elections.

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) which met in New Delhi on May 18, 2014, issued the following statement. {A copy of which is mailed to Uday India}

“The Polit Bureau discussed the results of the Lok Sabha elections and the post-election situation. It conducted a preliminary review of the elections and the performance of the party. It examined the various factors which led to the poor results for the party and the Left. The Polit Bureau will meet again on June 6 to finalise the election review and the political-organisational steps to be taken in the present political situation. This will be placed before the Central Committee meeting on June 7 and 8 for discussion and adoption.”

The Polit Bureau condemned the continuing attacks on the CPI (M) and the Left Front workers and supporters in West Bengal.

In Bengal pre-poll violence and widespread rigging during elections remained a major question. BJP, Congress and Left parties have time and again raised the question on the Institution of Election Commission for not being able to curb such widespread violence which affected almost all the constituencies of West Bengal.

The Congress which has not been able to touch even 50 seats all over India, and the number remains the lowest in the 128-year history of India’s oldest political party, has managed to retain only four seats in Bengal. Although reacting on party’s performance in the Lok Sabha election, West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said his party’s performance in the state was “satisfactory” even in the face of “terror unleashed by Trinamool Congress”.

“We started on a weak wicket in the state and the media said we will win only one seat. But we won four seats. It is satisfactory, if not good. Our workers fought in the face of terror by TMC.”

He also said that the Trinamool Congress had brought BJP in the state and in the past the saffron party also won two seats in alliance with TMC.

This time the BJP more than doubled its votes. The BJP victory is also limited in its geographical representation compared to 1999. The party won 22 Lok Sabha seats in east and southern coastal states then; its tally is now only seven from West Bengal (2), Orissa (1), Andhra Pradesh (3), Tamil Nadu (1) and Kerala (0).

These elections also saw the highest ever turnout in India’s history of 66.38 per cent, which is a clear indication that people desperately wanted the change and the change is here and it is for the first time since 1984 that a single party has achieved half mark on its own, ending the coalition era, although the BJP has decided to go with the alliance.

At this point of time in Bengal, with the debacle of Left and emergence of Trinamool Congress without a powerful opposition, BJP seems to be emerging as the only alternative in the state, which is also evident from the vote share this time. As the people of the state have already witnessed the rule of both the Left Front and the Congress and now are witnessing the Trinmool Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party which has no significant trace in the state’s political history has this time achieved its firm grip, which in coming years can be a major threat to the ruling party in the state.

By Joydeep dasgupta from Kolkata

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