Will Mamata Survive in 2021 Bengal elections?
As assembly elections in Bengal are nearing, election campaigns by different parties are gaining momentum. Mamata Banerjee who came to power in the name of ‘Ma, Maati and Manush’ will be fighting for her third stint. However, the last five years have been the toughest for Mamata Banerjee as many tallest and strong leaders have left her party alleging growing interference by her nephew Abhishek Banerjee in Trinamool Congress. Leaders like Mukul Roy, who was the pillar of Trinamool Congress once, left the party long back. Recent departure of Suvendu Adhikari who joined Bharatiya Janata Party in presence of Senior BJP leader Amit Shah in Midnapore, is a big blow to Mamata Banerjee and her party as Adhikari holds very strong control over TMC’s rural votes.
Here, it is worth mentioning that BJP has gained momentum in the state since the Lok Sabha elections 2019. In the 2019 elections, BJP-led NDA got almost 41 per cent votes which were more than 22 per cent compared to 2014 elections. On the other hand TMC-led federal front got 43 per cent votes. In terms of seats, NDA got 18 seats, AITC managed to secure 22 seats, which were 34 in 2014 elections. Therefore, BJP has already made its presence felt in Bengal. Now the big leaders of TMC joining BJP will only dent TMC’s fortune and make an easy win for BJP in 2021 battle of Bengal. However, it cannot be denied that politics is the game of perception and emotion plays a role in politics nowadays. Even Mamata Banerjee herself came to power selling emotions in the name of farmers and anti-business protest in 2011 legislative elections.
Amit Shah was in West Bengal recently where he not only addressed a rally, but also participated in a roadshow. While attacking Mamata Banerjee over the issue of illegal infiltration and farmers, he said, “TMC can never stop infiltration as it believes in appeasement politics. Only the BJP can stop it. Mamata Banerjee supports farmers’ protest but doesn’t allow them to get the benefits of central schemes. Is this the way to honour the federal structure?”
On Mamata Banerjee’s outsider comment, Shah said, “When Mamata didi was in Congress, did she call Indira Gandhi an outsider? Did she use the term for Prime Minister P V Narashima Rao? Is she trying to create a country where people of one state are not allowed in other states?” Amit Shah also raised the issue of rising unemployment in the state giving data.
Countering Amit Shah’s comment, Mamata Banerjee tweeted, “Centre is brazenly interfering with State Govt functioning by transferring police officers. My gratitude to Bhupesh Baghela, Arvind Kejriwal, Captain Amarinder Singh, Ashok Gehlot & M K Stalin for showing solidarity to people of Bengal & reaffirming their commitment to federalism. Thank you!”
Having said that, business is a really a matter of concern in West Bengal which once used to be the backbone of Indian economy. But now the situation has totally changed and for this, both Communist and TMC are responsible.
The fact is that Mamata Banerjee came to power riding the crest of her protest against Tata Nano project in Singur and due to her protest, eventually, Tata Nano had to shift from West Bengal to Gujarat. Therefore, it is noteworthy to mention here, because of her activism, Companies have feared to invest in West Bengal, where the economy is rapidly dying. Earlier, West Bengal used to be the business hub of India, but today, all the small factories are moving out of the state. For example, once Howrah, the neighbouring district of Kolkata, was famous for its small and medium business enterprises where Bandel, Dankuni and Liluah used to be the main hub. Now the situation has changed. There are very few companies remaining. Unemployment is now the biggest issue in the state. Educated Bengali people are leaving West Bengal due to negligible opportunity. Therefore, it could be said that Under Mamata Banerjee government West Bengal has not performed well when it comes to business.
The fact of the matter is 2021 assembly elections will be a matter of survival for Mamata Banerjee who once dreamed to be the Prime Minister of the country. On the other hand, battle of Bengal would be ideologically very vital for BJP as the founder of the party Shyama Prasad Mookerjee was from Bengal where BJP has been trying to come to power for years. However, development would be the core issue in this election as the state has every potential to play a significant role in Indian economy.
By Ravi Mishra